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Current Affairs 01 July 2023


  1. Paris Global Climate Financing Summit
  2. Startup Ecosystem in India
  3. Groundwater Extraction Has Shifted the Earth’s Axis
  4. Dark patterns
  5. Anamalai Tiger Reserve
  6. Just Energy Transition Partnership (JET-P)

Paris Global Climate Financing Summit


The Summit for a New Global Financing Pact was recently held in Paris with an objective of tackling the lack of financial support for developing countries. The Summit was announced at the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) of the UNFCCC.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of the Summit
  2. Climate Finance

Highlights of the Summit:

Developing Country Challenges:
  • Developing countries facing a combination of crises, including poverty, escalating debt levels, and inflation triggered by events like the Russia-Ukraine Conflict.
  • Pressure to decarbonize economies while lacking sufficient climate finance.
Demands from Global South:
  • Global South leaders demand Multilateral Development Banks (MDB) to address transboundary challenges and provide increased resources, including climate finance.
  • Developing countries call for more concessional and grant financing to address debt burdens, advocating for debt reductions, especially for least developed nations.
  • Emphasis on the necessity of long-term development funds to complement private sector financing.
Summit Announcements:
  • Unlocking of an additional USD 200 billion lending capacity for emerging economies.
  • Introduction of disaster clauses by the World Bank to suspend debt payments during extreme weather events.
  • IMF allocation of USD 100 billion in SDRs for vulnerable countries (pending approval from the US Congress).
  • Announcement of a 2.5 billion Euros Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JETP) deal for Senegal to increase renewable energy share in its electricity mix.
  • USD 6.3 billion debt restructuring deal reached by Zambia.
  • Calls for a Global Expert Review on Debt, Nature, and Climate.
  • EU’s call for increased global emissions coverage by Carbon Pricing Mechanisms, with a portion of revenues allocated to climate finance.
Climate Finance Goal:
  • Summit indicates the achievement of the long-awaited USD 100 billion climate finance goal this year.
  • Commitment made at UNFCCC COP 15 in Copenhagen in 2009.

Climate Finance

  • Climate finance refers to the provision of financial support at local, national, or transnational levels to facilitate actions that address climate change, including mitigation and adaptation measures.
  • It encompasses funding from public, private, and alternative sources.
International Framework:
  • The UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, and Paris Agreement emphasize the need for financial assistance from Developed Countries to Developing Countries.
  • The principle of “Common but Differentiated Responsibility and Respective Capabilities” (CBDR) guides the allocation of climate finance.

Recent Developments:

  • UNFCCC COP26 witnessed new financial pledges aimed at supporting developing countries in achieving global adaptation goals.


  • Climate finance plays a crucial role in mitigating climate impacts, requiring substantial investments to significantly reduce emissions.
  • It is equally important for adaptation efforts, necessitating significant financial resources to address the adverse effects of a changing climate.
  • Climate finance is essential for achieving the goal of limiting global temperature rise to below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels (2018 IPCC report).
Differentiated Responsibility:
  • Climate finance acknowledges the varying contributions and capacities of countries in addressing climate change.  Developed countries are expected to lead in mobilizing climate finance, supporting country-driven strategies, and considering the needs and priorities of developing countries.

-Source: Down To Earth

Startup Ecosystem in India


According to the “Slowdown in India’s Startup Ecosystem” report, the rate of new additions to the unicorn list in India has experienced a significant decline in 2023.


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Details
  2. Scenario of the Startup Ecosystem in India
  3. Challenges faced by the Start ups
  4. Government’s Initiatives for Startups


  • This decline suggests a slowdown in the country’s startup ecosystem.
  • The report, specifically the ASK Private Wealth Hurun Indian Future Unicorn Index 2023, reveals that only three startups in India achieved unicorn status with valuations exceeding USD 1 billion in 2023.
  • This number is substantially lower compared to the 24 startups that achieved unicorn status in the previous year.

Scenario of the Startup Ecosystem in India

  • The startup ecosystem in India has witnessed significant growth in recent years, establishing itself as the third-largest ecosystem globally as of May 31, 2023.
  • India also ranks second in terms of innovation quality, with notable strengths in scientific publications and universities among middle-income economies.

Here are some key highlights of the Indian startup ecosystem from 2015 to 2022:

  • Total funding for startups has increased by 15 times.
  • The number of investors has increased by 9 times.
  • The number of incubators has increased by 7 times.

As of May 2023, India is home to 108 unicorns, which are startups with a valuation exceeding USD 1 billion. These unicorns collectively hold a valuation of USD 340.80 billion. In 2021, 44 new unicorns were born, followed by an additional 21 in 2022.

In addition to unicorns, there are specific terms related to startups:

  • Decacorn: Startups with a current valuation surpassing USD 10 billion.
  • Gazelles: Startups that are expected to achieve unicorn status within the next three years.
  • Cheetahs: Startups that have the potential to become unicorns within the next five years.

Challenges faced by the Start ups:

  • Financial scarcity: Access to capital is important for startups, and obtaining sufficient funds is always a challenge.
  • Lack of Infrastructure: Incubators, science and technology parks, and other support mechanisms that play a vital part in the lifecycle of startups are lacking.
  • Regulatory bottlenecks: Starting and quitting a firm involves a number of government permits. Even while there is a noticeable difference, it remains a difficulty.
  • Compliance issues: For example, the earlier Angel tax, which has been repealed, is plagued by corruption and inefficiency in the bureaucracy.
  • Low success rate: Several firms fail as a result of a shift in focus away from the foundations of business.

Government’s Initiatives for Startups

The Indian government has implemented several initiatives to support startups and foster a conducive ecosystem for their growth. Here are some key initiatives:

  • Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS): This scheme provides financial support to startups for various stages of their journey, including proof of concept, prototype development, product trials, market entry, and commercialization.
  • National Startup Awards: These awards recognize and reward exceptional startups and ecosystem enablers who contribute to economic dynamism by promoting innovation and competition.
  • SCO Startup Forum: In October 2020, the first-ever Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Startup Forum was launched. It aims to facilitate collaboration among member countries to develop and enhance startup ecosystems collectively.
  • Prarambh Summit: The ‘Prarambh’ Summit serves as a platform for startups and young minds from around the world to showcase their ideas, innovations, and inventions. It encourages networking, learning, and collaboration among startup stakeholders.

-Source: Indian Express

Groundwater Extraction Has Shifted the Earth’s Axis


According to a new study, excessive extraction of groundwater for drinking and irrigation has shifted the Earth’s axis of rotation.


GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Study
  2. About Earth’s Axis
  3. How Global Warming/Depletion of Groundwater Can Lead to Changes in Earth’s Axis?

About the Study:

  • The study titled ‘Drift of Earth’s Pole Confirms Groundwater Depletion as a Significant Contributor to Global Sea Level Rise 1993–2010’ was recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
  • Researchers from the United States, South Korea, Australia, and Hong Kong conducted the study.
  • The study’s main finding is that excessive groundwater extraction for drinking and irrigation purposes has caused a shift in the Earth’s axis of rotation.
  • According to the study, human activities resulted in the extraction of approximately 2,150 gigatons of groundwater between 1993 and 2010, causing the planet’s axis to drift eastward at a rate of 4.36 cm per year.
  • While the shift itself does not have immediate practical implications, the study highlights that extensive groundwater depletion by humans has influenced the planet’s axis and contributed to the rise in global sea levels.

About Earth’s Axis:

  • The Earth’s axis refers to the imaginary line that extends from the North Pole to the South Pole and is currently tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees from the plane of its orbit around the Sun.
  • However, this tilt undergoes natural changes over a cycle of approximately 40,000 years, varying between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees.
  • The phenomenon of the shifting poles and axis, known as “polar motion,” has been recognized by scientists for many years. It occurs as the distribution of mass within and on the planet changes.
  • Various factors contribute to polar motion, including the slow circulation of rocks within the Earth’s mantle, which causes shifts in mass and consequently alters the position of the rotational axis.
  • Additionally, ocean currents and even weather events like hurricanes can influence polar motion.

How Global Warming/Depletion of Groundwater Can Lead to Changes in Earth’s Axis?

Effects on Earth’s Axis:
  • Research in 2016 revealed that climate-driven changes in water mass distribution caused by melting glaciers and ice in Greenland can result in the drift of Earth’s axis.
  • A 2021 study highlighted that climate change has been causing more pronounced shifts in the rotational axis since the 1990s.
Recent Study Findings:
  • The latest study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, utilized 17 years of observational data and a computer model to identify the primary factors influencing the Earth’s axis rotation.
  • The study identified the redistribution of groundwater as the most significant contributor to the drift of the rotational pole.
  • Groundwater extraction in North America and northwestern India, situated at the Earth’s midlatitudes, had a disproportionately larger impact on polar motion compared to extraction in polar or equatorial regions.
Connection to Global Sea Level Rise:
  • Water extracted from the ground for irrigation and fulfilling freshwater demands eventually flows into the oceans.
  • The research team confirmed that groundwater extraction is a major contributor to global sea level rise.
  • Their calculations aligned with previous research, estimating that groundwater extraction raised global sea levels by 6.24mm between 1993 and 2010.

-Source: Indian Express

Dark Patterns


The Union Consumer Affairs Ministry is concerned about the increasing dark patterns of misleading advertisements that use tactics like false urgency, confirm-shaming, forced action, subscription traps, and nagging.


GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Dark Patterns
  2. Examples of Dark Patterns
  3. Implications
  4. How Companies Employ Dark Patterns?
  5. Consequences for Users Exposed to Dark Patterns

Dark Patterns

  • Dark patterns are deceptive design techniques used in user interfaces to manipulate or deceive users into taking specific actions or making certain choices online.
  • They are unethical user interface designs that intentionally make the internet experience more difficult or exploit users.
Characteristics and Methods:
  • Dark patterns exploit cognitive biases and behavioral tendencies to trick or mislead users.
  • They are implemented to benefit the platform or business, often at the expense of the user’s interests.
  • Techniques used can include creating a false sense of urgency, inducing guilt or shame for not complying, coercing users into specific actions, trapping them into subscriptions or purchases, or persistently bothering them.
Examples of Dark Patterns:
  • Misdirection: Steering users towards unintended actions through confusing or misleading interface elements.
  • Hidden Costs: Concealing or obfuscating additional charges or fees until the final steps of a transaction.
  • Forced Continuity: Making it difficult for users to cancel or unsubscribe from services, often leading to unexpected charges.
  • Sneak into Basket: Adding items or services to a user’s cart without their consent or clear disclosure.
  • Roach Motel: Allowing users to enter easily but making it extremely difficult to leave or cancel a subscription.
  • Dark patterns can erode trust, manipulate user behavior, and create negative experiences for individuals.
  • They can exploit vulnerable users, especially those who may be less knowledgeable or have limited digital literacy.
  • Public backlash and legal consequences can occur when companies are exposed for using dark patterns in their interfaces.

How Companies Employ Dark Patterns?

Social media companies and Big Tech firms, including Apple, Amazon, Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Google, leverage dark or deceptive patterns to their advantage, downgrading the user experience.

Examples of Dark Patterns:


  • Amazon faced criticism in the EU for its confusing, multi-step cancellation process for the Amazon Prime subscription, making it difficult for users to unsubscribe.

Google-owned YouTube:

  • YouTube nudges users to sign up for YouTube Premium with pop-ups, obscuring the final seconds of a video with thumbnails of other videos, disrupting the user experience.


  • LinkedIn users often receive unsolicited, sponsored messages from influencers, and disabling this option requires a difficult process with multiple steps, assuming users are familiar with the platform controls.

Consequences for Users Exposed to Dark Patterns:

  • Lack of Transparency: Dark patterns can obscure important information, making it difficult for users to understand the full implications of their actions, potentially leading to uninformed decision-making and financial or privacy risks.
  • Reduced Autonomy: Dark patterns manipulate user behavior, limiting their freedom of choice. Users may feel coerced or pressured into making decisions they wouldn’t have otherwise made, resulting in buyer’s remorse or dissatisfaction.
  • Privacy Concerns: Some dark patterns may manipulate users into sharing more personal data than intended or agreeing to privacy settings that compromise confidentiality, raising data security and privacy breach concerns.
  • Negative User Experience: Dark patterns often create frustrating and confusing experiences for users. They may feel deceived or manipulated, leading to a loss of trust in the platform or brand and an overall diminished user experience.

-Source: The Hindu

Anamalai Tiger Reserve


An elephant image shot at Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) has emerged as the winner in the Wildlife category of the Siena Drone Photo Awards 2023, announced recently.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Anamalai Tiger Reserve
  2. Siena Drone Photo Awards

Anamalai Tiger Reserve

Location and Surroundings:

  • Situated in the Anamalai Hills of Pollachi and Coimbatore District, Tamil Nadu
  • South of the Palakkad gap in the Southern Western Ghats
  • Surrounded by Parambikulum Tiger Reserve (East), Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, and Eravikulum National Park (Southwest)
  • Also bordered by Nenmara, Vazhachal, Malayattur, and Marayur reserved forests of Kerala

Designation and Establishment:

  • Declared a Tiger Reserve in 2007, highlighting its significance for tiger conservation

Habitat and Biodiversity:

  • Supports diverse habitat types including wet evergreen forests, semi-evergreen forests, moist deciduous forests, dry deciduous forests, dry thorn forests, and shola forests
  • Unique habitats such as montane grasslands, savannah, and marshy grasslands are also present


  • Home to approximately 2,500 species of angiosperms
  • Notable species include various Balsam, Crotalaria, Orchids, and Kurinchi
  • Rich in wild relatives of cultivated species like mango, jackfruit, wild plantain, ginger (Zingiber officinale), turmeric, pepper (Piper longum), cardamom, etc.


Diverse wildlife present, including:

  • Tiger, Asiatic elephant, Sambar, Spotted deer, Barking deer, Jackal, Leopard, Jungle cat, among others

Siena Drone Photo Awards

  • Siena Drone Photo Awards is a prestigious global competition focused on aerial photography and video.
  • The competition is a part of the Siena Awards, which aims to highlight distinct genres of photography and separate them from traditional photography.
Scope of the Competition:

Open to submissions of aerial photography and videos captured from various platforms, including:

  • Fixed-wing aircraft
  • Helicopters
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles (drones)
  • Balloons
  • Blimps and dirigibles
  • Rockets
  • Kites
  • Parachutes
Promoting Aerial Perspective:
  • The competition celebrates the unique and captivating perspectives that can be achieved through aerial photography and video.
  • It provides a platform for photographers and videographers to showcase their creative vision and technical skills in capturing stunning aerial imagery.
Recognition and Influence:
  • As the most important worldwide competition in its field, the Siena Drone Photo Awards recognizes excellence in aerial photography and video.
  • Winning entries receive prestigious accolades and gain exposure to a global audience, contributing to the advancement of aerial imaging as an artistic and storytelling medium.

-Source: The Hindu

Just Energy Transition Partnership (JET-P)


Recently, Senegal signed the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JET-P) deal.


GS II: International Relations

Just Energy Transition Partnership (JET-P):

  • JET-P is a mechanism supported by developed countries to provide multilateral financing for energy transition in developing nations.
  • Its objectives include reducing emissions in the energy sector and expediting the phase-out of coal.
  • The term “transition” refers to the gradual adoption of lower carbon technologies, while “just” ensures a positive impact on society, jobs, and livelihoods.
  • It was launched at COP26 with support from the UK, US, France, Germany, and the EU.
  • Senegal has become the fourth country to sign the JET-P deal, joining South Africa, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
  • The International Partners Group, comprising France, Germany, the EU, UK, and Canada, supports JET-P.
  • India declined to participate, stating that singling out coal as a polluting fuel is unfair, and energy transition discussions should be on equal terms.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023