Facts & Figures for UPSC Mains : December 2020


  • India is the largest user of groundwater in the world, extracting groundwater to the tune of 253 billion cubic meter (bcm) per year. It is about 25% of the global groundwater extraction.
  • Currently, China manufactures:
    • 75% of the world’s lithium batteries;
    • 70% of solar cells;
    • 95% of solar wafers and
    • it controls 60% of the production of poly silica.
    • The extent of degraded land in India is 12 crore hectares or about 38% of our total geographical area.
  • Out of total groundwater available, 90% of it is used for irrigation purposes which is mainly for agricultural purposes.
  • Around 60% of transboundary river basins worldwide still lack any cooperative arrangement.
  • India will need 1.5 trillion cubic metres water by 2030, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.
  • According to Researchers from Indian Institute of Science’s (IISc) Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (CAOS) have found that, 43% of the droughts that occurred during the Indian summer monsoon season in the past century may have been driven by atmospheric disturbances from the North Atlantic region.
  • However, researchers now say that 10 out of the 23 droughts that India faced in the past century have occurred during years when El Niño was absent.
  • Over 75 % districts in India, home to more than 63.8 crore people, are hotspots of extreme climate events such as cyclones, floods, droughts, heat and cold waves, according to a study released by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).
  • Six of India’s eight most flood-prone districts in the last decade—Barpeta, Darrang, Dhemaji, Goalpara, Golaghat, Sivasagar—are in Assam.
  • The number of tropical cyclones globally was above average in 2020, with 96 cyclones as of November 2020.
  • A recent flagship report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) revealed that about 1.2 billion people globally experienced very high levels of water stress. It also noted that the annual amount of available freshwater resources per person had declined by more than 20 per cent in the past two decades.


  • According to the World Bank, the scale of urbanisation in India is only 33%, whereas the size of the urban population is about 429 million – much larger than that of many other countries. 


  • A new study from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has found that an additional 207 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030 due to the severe long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the total number of the world’s extremely poor to more than a billion.
  • The World Bank defines “extreme poverty” as living on less than 1.90 USD per person per day.
  • The ‘Baseline COVID’ scenario, based on current mortality rates and the most recent growth projections by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), would result in 44 million more people living in extreme poverty by 2030 compared to the development trajectory the world was on before the pandemic.
  • Under a ‘High Damage’ scenario, where the recovery is protracted, COVID-19 is likely to push an additional 207 million people into extreme poverty by 2030, and increase the female poverty headcount by an additional 102 million compared to that baseline.


  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) ‘Crime in India’ 2019report, about 70% of women in India are victims of domestic violence.
  • As recently as 2019, the ‘Magnitude of Substance Use in India’ report found that “about 2.8 per cent of the population (3.1 crore individuals) reports having used any cannabis product within the previous year”.
  • A study by the UN Population Fund states that more than twothirds of married women in India, between the ages of 15 to 49, have been beaten, raped, or forced to provide sex.
  • Considering that 26.68 crore Indians use tobacco, its reduction is a mammoth job. However, we achieved a 17% relative decrease in tobacco consumption between 2010 and 2016 — the highest globally in such a short span. Consumption among children showed a 33% decline.
  • India is one of the 36 countries where marital rape hasn’t been criminalized.
  • According to Gender Social Norms Index 2020, about half of the world’s men and women feel that men make better political leaders, and over 40 percent feel that men make better business executives and that men have more right to a job when jobs are scarce. 28 percent think it is justified for a man to beat his wife.  
  • According to ChildLine India, across India5,214 child marriages were reported in the first four months of lockdown between March to June.
  • From one in four to approximately one in five, child marriages have seen a decline world over in the past 10 years, a Unicef report released on March 6, 2018. Still, approximately 650 million girls and women alive today were married before their 18th birthday.


  • India has a population of 106 million old people and that the number will touch 324 million by 2050.
  • According to a latest study conducted by Agewell Foundation, 65% of old people are poor with no source of known income. The good news is that 35% still have money, properties, savings, investments, inheritance and above all supportive children.
  • According to the State of World Population 2019 report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
    • India’s population in 2019 stood at 1.36 billion, growing from 942.2 million in 1994 and
    • 6% of India’s population was of the age 65 and above.
    • India also recorded an improvement in life expectancy at birth, which was 47 years in 1969, growing to 60 years in 1994 and 69 years in 2019.


  • According to Gender Social Norms Index 2020, only 24 percent of parliamentary seats worldwide are held by women and there are only 10 female heads of government out of a possible 193. Women in the labour market are paid less than men and are much less likely to be in senior positions: less than 6 percent of CEOs in S&P 500 companies are women.


  • An analysis of the last five Union budgets shows that India spends less than 4% of its annual budget on youth-focused schemes, and the proportion of funding allocated to these schemes has declined in recent years.



  • As per UNICEF data, more than one lakh children under the age of five years die every year in India due to the pneumococcal disease.
  • According to the World Cancer Report by the WHO, one in 10 Indians develops cancer during their lifetime and one in 15 dies of the disease.
  • According to WHO, an ideal doctor-patient ratio is 1:1000, which, when translated to the Indian healthcare system, narrates a shortage of around 600,000 doctors and two million nurses.
  • With an estimated 77 million diabetics, the ninth edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas projected that India would continue to be at the 2nd spot among the top 10 countries with diabetes till 2045.
  • In 2018, an estimated 882,000 children under five died due to pre-existing poor healthcare facilities in India.
  • According to a Lancet study in 2019, a staggering 68% of 1.04 million deaths of children under five years in India was attributable to malnutrition.
  • India and Medical Devices
    • India imports more than 75% of its medical devices from around the world.
    • Per capita spending on medical devices in India is the lowest at $3 as compared to $28 in Brazil, $43 in Russia and $304 in the USA.
    • India’s 1.4% share in the global device market is testimony to the fact that we are still not prepared to make all medical devices in India.
  • India needs to ensure coverage of every single child and mother, along with 12 months of Poshan Mah (Nutrition Month), 52 weeks of breastfeeding weeks and 365 days of take-home ration.
  • Data from India’s National Health Mission showed there was a 64% decrease in child immunisation, a 50% drop in BCG vaccinations, and a 39% fall in oral polio immunisation in April, 2020, compared with January, 2020.
  • In India, out of 1.57 lakh malaria cases in the high-burden states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya and Madhya Pradesh in 2019, 1.1 lakh cases (70%) were cases of falciparum malaria, according to a statement by the Health Ministry on December 2. In 2018, the National Vector-borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) estimated that approximately 5 lakh people suffered from malaria (63% were of Plasmodium falciparum); researchers writing in the Malaria Journal of BMC felt the numbers could be an underestimate. The recent World Malaria Report 2020 said cases in India dropped from about 20 million in 2000 to about 5.6 million in 2019.
  • In India, according to the 2011 population census, the population with disabilities is around 26.8 million, constituting 2.21% of India’s total population.
  • Cardiovascular diseases are the number 1 cause of deaths globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year, according to the World Health Organisation.
  • The number of women breastfeeding their newborns within an hour declined in the last five years, according to the recent National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 (Phase-1).


  • About 60% of India’s population cannot afford full-time higher education even if it is provided for free.


  • Over the years, there has been a decline in the sitting’s days of Parliament. During the first two decades of Parliament, Lok Sabha met for an average of a little more than 120 days a year. This has come down to approximately 70 days in the last decade.
  • The year 2020, Parliament has met for 33 days. The last time it met for fewer than 50 days was in 2008, when it met for 46 days.
  • India has only 19 judges per million population. Of these, at any given point, at least one-fourth is always vacant. The U.S. has about 100 judges per million population. Canada has about 75 and the U.K. has about 50.
  • India has dropped to two places on the World Press Freedom Index, 2020 to be ranked 142nd out of 180 countries.
  • According to data by PRS Legislative Research, while 60% of the Bills in the 14th Lok Sabha and 71% in the 15th Lok Sabha were referred to DRSCs concerned, this proportion came down to 27% in the 16th Lok Sabha.
  • According to a UN report of 2015, India’s diaspora population is the largest in the world at 16 million people. 
  • According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, between 2001 and 2018, only 26 policemen were convicted of custodial violence despite 1,727 such deaths being recorded in India.
  • More than 2,000 human rights violation cases were also recorded against the police between 2000 and 2018.
  • Out of 16,671 police stations in the country, 10 are shortlisted on various performance parameters, including property offences, crimes against women and weaker sections of the society etc. Nongpok Sekmai police station in Thoubal district of Manipur has topped the list of best performing police stations awarded by the Ministry of Home Affairs during the year 2020.
  • The Supreme Court “only has 2 women judges, as against a sanctioned strength of 34 judges” and “there has never been a female Chief Justice of India”.
  • There are only 80 women judges out of the total sanctioned strength of 1,113 judges in the High Courts and the Supreme Court across India… Out of these 80 women judges, there are only two in the Supreme Court, and the other 78 are in various High Courts, comprising only 7.2 per cent of the total number of judges.
  • According to data released by Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), police-population ratio (number of police personnel per one lakh of population) has declined in 2019. From 198 in 2018, it dropped to 195 in 2019.
  • The High Court of Karnataka and the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA) have created history in settlement of cases, with a record 2,61,882 cases being settled in a single day at the mega Lok Adalat held, recently.



  • The bilateral trade between India and the UK dipped to $15.5 billion in 2019-20 from $16.9 billion in 2018-19.


  • Israel has been among the top four arms suppliers to India for almost two decades now, notching military sales worth around USD 1 billion every year.


  • As per EXIM Bank, Switzerland was the11th largest trading partner for India in 2018-19.
  • Switzerland invested FDI equity worth approximately USD 4.781 billion in India from April 2000 to September 2019 thus becoming the 12thlargest investor and accounting for about 1.07% of total FDI in India during this period.
  • India is Switzerland’s third largest trading partner in Asia.


  • One-third of the world’s trade and significant volumes of East Asia’s oil pass through the Eastern straits of Malacca, Sunda, Lombok-Makassar and the South China Sea (SCS). This necessitates security and stability, especially in the East Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific.
  • The Western Indian Ocean Region (WIOR), sitting at the intersection of Asia, Africa, and Europe, is gaining greater strategic importance. The region’s rich natural resource profile, estimated to be worth at least US$333.8 billion, has generated interest amongst the bigger world economies.
  • Indo-Pacific region—accounting for 64 percent of the world’s population and 62 percent of global GDP—is vital for the world.


  • Constitutes around 30 % of the global economy with an economic size worth $26.5 trillion.


  • Accounts for over 60% of Eurasia’s territory, more than 40% of the world’s population, and almost a quarter of the world’s GDP.
  • Accordingly, India’s economic diplomacy in SCO is focused less on Russia, China and Pakistan and more on CARs. India’s trade with them rose from $1.4 billion in 2017-18 to $2.7 billion in 2019-20.


  • India imports 90% of electric scooter components from China. Currently, an Indian car uses 10-15% imported parts. 
  • Around 70% of the freight trains currently running on the Indian Railway network are slated to shift to the freight corridors, leaving the paths open for more passenger trains.
  • India currently consumes only one-third of the global average consumption of energy. 
  • Currently, gas accounts for 6% in the country’s total energy mix.
  • The total cases of frauds (involving Rs. 1 lakh and above) reported by banks and financial institutions shot up by 28% by volume and 159% by value during 2019-20 despite the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) tightening the supervision and vigilance.
  • India’s Textile Sector shares nearly 6% of world market size of 250 Billion USD. However, the annual average growth of the segment is 12%, as compared to 4% world average growth.
  • According to the RBI, a major chunk of the frauds was reported on the advances front with 4,610 cases for Rs 182,051 crore, which works to around 98 per cent of the total value of frauds. Public sector banks topped the fraud table with 4,413 cases involving Rs 148,400 crore. Private banks reported 3,066 frauds involving Rs 34,211 crore.
  • The RBI also indicated that the frauds registered during 2019-20 actually occurred in the loans sanctioned during 2010-2014.
  • The National Highways of India carry about 40% of road traffic.
  • India has 30 million agriculture pumps, of which, 22 million are electric and eight million are diesel operated. Electricity for agriculture is highly subsidised and is often termed as the main cause for rapid groundwater depletion and poor financial position of DISCOMs.
  • According to data, only 6 % of the farmers in India are fully covered by the MSP, and 84 per cent are located in the states of Punjab and Haryana.
  • Punjab’s agriculture is blessed with almost 99% irrigation against an all-India average of little less than 50% — Maharashtra’s irrigation cover, in fact, is just 20%.
  • The average landholding in Punjab is 3.62 hectare (ha) as against an all-India average of 1.08 ha — in Bihar, this figure is just 0.4 ha.
  • Punjab’s fertiliser consumption per ha is about 212 kg vis-à-vis an all-India level of 135 kg/ha.
  • The productivity levels of wheat and rice in Punjab stand at 5 tonnes/ha and 4 tonnes/ha respectively, against an all-India average of 3.5t/ha and 2.6t/ha.
  • Annual electricity consumption for agriculture is around 200 billion units, which is 18 per cent of total electricity consumption.
  • More than 80 per cent of ammonia made is consumed in the manufacturing of fertilizer, and most of the remainder goes into the production of formaldehyde.
  • India’s renewable power capacity is the 4th largest in the world and is growing at the fastest speed among all major countries.
  • The renewable energy capacity in India is currently 136 Giga Watts, which is about 36% of its total capacity.
  • India is currently using only 6% of the world’s primary energy while the per capita consumption of energy is still one-third of the global average.
  • India’s energy demand would increase at 3% per annum till 2040.
  • According to the “State of Land Report, India” was released by Bhubaneswar-based Centre for Land Governance recently, only 12.9% Indian women hold agricultural land.


  • MSMEs contribute 55% and 60% to the GDP of Germany and China respectively.
  • Almost 86% of the manufacturing MSMEs operating in the country are unregistered.
  • Out of the 6.3 crore MSMEs only about 1.1 crores are registered with Goods and Services Tax regime.
  • As per the ‘Consumer Pyramid Household Survey’ conducted by CMIE, in 2019-20
    • Urban female employment rate remained at 7.34% as compared to the 63.68% among male.
    • Rural female employment rate was 9.70% as compared to 68.16% among male.


  • When TRAI outlined the plan and initiated the first pilot of a public wi-fi system on the WANI architecture, it noted that a 10% rise in net penetration led to a 1.4% increase in GDP.
  • In the US, 70% of investments in R&D is done by the private sector, in India the same is done by the public sector. A big chunk of this is in the IT, pharma and transport sectors.
  • A rapid scale-up of Internet in rural India will be transformative, given the low level of penetration — 27.57 subscribers per 100 population in 2019 – and wi-fi linked to broadband fibre service is the fastest route to achieving that.
  • India spends less than 1% on the Research and Development sector and that is also mostly by the government, which is considerably less as compared to other countries like South Korea where 3.4% of GDP of the country is spent in the R&D sector and 70% of it is by the private sector.
  • Cyber security firm McAfee noted that cybercrime incidents could cost the world around $1 trillion in 2020, up from $600 billion in 2018. In its report titled, ‘The Hidden Costs of Cybercrime’, the firm said that the annual cost of cybercrime this year would be more than 1% of the global gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Asia leads the world in 3D printing, and about 50 per cent of its market is cornered by China, followed by Japan at 30 per cent, and South Korea 10 per cent. But globally, the US remains the leader, with more than 35 per cent market share.
  • According to the Department of Telecommunications, Internet consumption in India rose by 13% after the lockdown was announced.
  • Data and AI will contribute $450 billion-$500 billion to India’s GDP by 2025. 
  • As per a report by PwC (a global network of firms), India reported a 45% increase in the use of Artificial Intelligence, the highest among all countries, while the US recorded a 35 per cent rise, the UK 23 per cent and Japan 28 per cent, following the outbreak of the virus. Additionally, around 70 per cent of enterprises surveyed by PWC India adopted AI, as against around 62 per cent last year.


  • NITI Aayog CEO had said that India can create $1 trillion of economic value using digital technology by 2025.
  • As per the latest Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data, about 54% of India’s population has access to the Internet.
  • The 75th round of the National Statistical Organization survey shows that only 20% of the population has the ability to use the Internet.
  • The India Internet 2019 report shows that rural India has half the Internet penetration as urban, and twice as many users who access the Internet less than once a week.


  • India has 21 of the world’s 30 cities with the worst air pollution as per data from IQAir AirVisual’s 2019 World Air Quality Report.
  • Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Rajasthan account for over 50 per cent deaths attributed to air pollution in India, according to data published in Lancet Planetary Health.
  • At least 1.7 million in India died due to air pollution in 2019. Of this, over 58 per cent deaths were attributed to outdoor air pollution and 36 per cent due to household air pollution linked to cooking alone. 
  • The primary raw material for ethanol production in India is sugarcane and its by-products, accounting for more than 90% of fuel ethanol supplies under the ethanol-blended petrol (EBP) programme.
  • According to the report of Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the international legal wildlife trade has increased 500 per cent in value since 2005 and 2,000 per cent since the 1980s. On the other hand, the estimated value of the global illegal trade in wildlife is worth around $7-23 billion per year, equivalent to nearly 25 per cent of the value of the legal market. 
  • An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted in its 2007 report that climate change may increase the risk of diarrhoeal diseases, which is of major concern in developing countries, with increasing incidents of floods as well as drought.
  • The IPCC estimates that a sustained annual investment of $2.4 trillion in more efficient energy systems is needed until 2035 in order to keep warming below the more ambitious 1.5˚C relative to pre-industrial levels. To put this in perspective, that is about 2.5% of the global GDP.
  • India’s coal-based thermal power sector is one of the country’s biggest emitters of CO2. It emits 1.1 giga-tonne of CO2 every year; this is 2.5% of global GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emissions, one-third of India’s GHG emissions, and around 50% of India’s fuel-related CO2 emissions.
  • India has one of the youngest coal-based thermal plants in the world, with around 64% of the capacity (132 GW) less than a decade old.
  • Historically it’s the developed countries that have been major contributors to carbon emissions with the United States with the highest historical emissions at 25 per cent, followed by the EU at 22 per cent and China at 13 per cent. Historically India has a low carbon emission contribution of only 3 per cent. Even presently, our carbon emissions remain restricted at 6.8 per cent of global emissions and the per capita emissions is only 1.9 tonnes per capita.
  • A UN report released earlier this year stated that India’s per capita emissions are actually 60% lower than the global average. Also, emissions in the country grew 1.4% in 2019, much lower than its average of 3.3% per year over the last decade, the Emissions Gap Report said.
  • The Environment Ministry says several measures including the swtich to BS VI and the increase in the capacity of renewable and solar energy, assisted in cutting CO2 emissions by 164 million kg.
  • Currently, China has the highest greenhouse gas emissions (30 per cent) while the US contributes 13.5 per cent and the EU 8.7 per cent.
  • Almost 40% of elephant sanctuaries are vulnerable because they are not in protected parks and reserves. Besides, there is no specific legal protection for migration corridors.
  • According to the provisional report on the State of the Global Climate 2020 released by the World Meteorological Organisation, the year 2020 is set to be one of the warmest years in history with the average global temperature in the year likely to be around 1.2°C above the pre-industrial (1850-1900) level.
  • The economic loss attributable to air pollution as a percentage of state gross domestic product (GDP) was the highest in Uttar Pradesh (2.15 per cent), Bihar (1.95 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (1.70 per cent), Rajasthan (1.70 per cent), and Chhattisgarh (1.55 per cent).
  • Uttar Pradesh has an annual average of particulate pollution at 182.9 micrograms per cubic metre air (μg/m3), the second-highest after Delhi. 
  • In India, the IUCN list categorises 1,174 species as threatened with extinction, including golden langur (Trachypithecus geei) and Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus).
  • There are now 1,28,918 species on the IUCN Global Species Programme and nearly a third or 35,765 of them are threatened with extinction.
  • India’s coal-based thermal power sector is one of the country’s biggest emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2). It spews out 1.1 gigatonne of CO2 every year; this is 2.5 per cent of global GHG emissions, one-third of India’s GHG emissions, and around 50 per cent of India’s fuel-related CO2 emissions.


  • According to a study released by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), over 75% districts in India, home to more than 63.8 crore people, are hotspots of extreme climate events such as cyclones, floods, droughts, heat and cold waves.
  • Six of India’s eight most flood-prone districts in the last decade—Barpeta, Darrang, Dhemaji, Goalpara, Golaghat, Sivasagar—are in Assam.
  • India is already the 5th most vulnerable country globally in terms of extreme climate events, and it is all set to become the world’s flood capital.


  • As per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Arms Transfer Database, during the period 2010-17, Russia was the top arms supplier to India.




  • Recently, the latest data on police organisations was released by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D).

Key Findings

  • Backward Castes, Dalits and tribals constitute almost 67 per cent of India’s population, but their representation in police forces in the country is only at 51 per cent.

Police Population Ratios

  • The data also shows that police-population ratio (number of police personnel per one lakh of population) declined in 2019. From 198 in 2018, it dropped to 195 in 2019.
  • While Andaman and Nicobar Islands have the best police-population ratio at 816, Jharkhand (45) and Bihar (55) have the worst. Odisha (67), Assam (68), Andhra Pradesh (85), Gujarat (87), Uttarakhand (95) and West Bengal (97) are part of the bottom 10 states.
  • Among larger states, Jammu and Kashmir (399) and Punjab (236) have the best police-population ratio.
  • The UN mandated police-population ration is over 220.

Scheduled Tribes

  • They form 8.6% of the population and have 12% representation in the police forces, placing them at a comparatively better position.
  • Only STs have better representation in police forces in comparison to their share in population while all other backward classes fare poorly.


    • 14% of all positions in police forces across the country were represented by Dalits at the end of 2019.
    • According to Census 2011, Dalits make up 16.6% of India’s population.

Other Backward Classes

    • OBCs fare the worst on the representation front as, despite their 41% share in the population, they constitute only 25% of the police forces.


    • Women are highly under-represented with 10% share in the actual strength of the police in the country, even though their share in population is 48%.
    • Women population per woman police ratio stands at 3,026 nationally which is very low.



  • Recently, Union Environment Minister announced that a “60 per cent increase has been recorded in the population count of leopards in India from 2014 estimates.

Key findings

  • The 2014 estimates placed the population of leopards at nearly 8,000 which has increased to 12,852.
  • There were 8,000 leopards in 2014. Increase in the population of tigers, Asiatic lions and now leopards show how India is protecting its environment, ecology and biodiversity.
  • The largest number of leopards have been estimated in Madhya Pradesh (3,421) followed by Karnataka (1,783) and then Maharashtra (1,690).
  • The report finds that in region wise distribution, Central India and Eastern Ghats have the highest number of leopards at 8,071. In the Western Ghats region, there are 3,387 leopards while there are 1,253 leopards in Shivalik and Gangetic Plains. There are 141 leopards in the Northeast hills.
  • The report alerts that the leopard habitat area has been shrinking alarmingly over the past 100-125 years.
  • The leopard census has been carried out in the Shivalik Hills and Gangetic plains, Central India and Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats and North eastern Hills and Brahmaputra flood plains.
  • Leopards are not like tigers, who don’t like humans and therefore don’t venture out. Leopards are far more adaptable and because of this, when loss of habitat takes place, they move closer to human settlements and that’s when the conflict takes place.
  • Conservation:
    • IUCN: Vulnerable
    • CITES: Appendix I
    • Wildlife Protection Act 1972: Schedule 1



  • Recently, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has released human development index for the year 2020.
  • Norway topped the index, followed by Ireland, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Iceland.

Key Findings

  • India slipped two spots to rank 131 among 189 countries.
  • While India is ranked 131, its neighbours Bhutan is ranked 129, Bangladesh 133, Nepal 142, and Pakistan 154.
  • According to the 2020 Human Development Report, life expectancy of Indians at birth in 2019 was 69.7 years while Bangladesh has a life expectancy of 72.6 years and Pakistan 67.3 years.
  • India’s gross national income per capita fell to USD 6,681 in 2019 from USD 6,829 in 2018 on purchasing power parity (PPP) basis.
  • Under theParis Agreement, India pledged to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP from the 2005 level by 33-35% by 2030 and to obtain 40% of electric power capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
  • Solar capacity in India increased from 2.6 gigawatts in March 2014 to 30 gigawatts in July 2019, achieving its target of 20 gigawatts four years ahead of schedule.
  • In 2019, India ranked fifth for installed solar capacity.

Key Observations

  • In India different responses in parent behaviour as well as some disinvestment in girls’ health and education have led to higher malnutrition among girls than among boys as a consequence of shocks likely linked to climate change.
  • The drop in India’s ranking doesn’t mean “India didn’t do well but other countries did better”. He added that India can help other countries too and hailed its commitment towards cutting down carbon emissions.
  • The report said evidence from Colombia to India indicates that financial security and ownership of land improve women’s security and reduce the risk of gender-based violence, hereby indicating that owning land can empower women.
  • It further said indigenous children in Cambodia, India and Thailand show more malnutrition-related issues such as stunting and wasting.

India and Gender Development

  • The UNDP also calculates as a part of its Human Development Report, the Gender Development Index or the GDI.
  • As per the HDR 2020, the GDI value of India is 0.820, with the GDI value for females standing at 0.573 and that for males at 0.699, showcasing a wide contrast.
  • In this measure, India is behind Bangladesh, with a GDI value of 0.904, while it stayed ahead of Pakistan (0.745). The average GDI for the South Asian region stood at 0.824, while that for medium HDI countries was 0.835, with India’s value being lower than both.
  • In terms of health measured by life expectancy at birth, females in India had a value of 71.0 years, while that for males was 68.5 years.
  • For education, the index takes into account expected years of schooling for children, and mean years of schooling for adults.
  • The expected years of schooling for males in India was valued at 11.7 years, while that for females was 12.6 years.
  • On the other hand, mean years of schooling for males was 8.7 years and for females was 5.4 years.
  • To calculate the economic resources, the report takes into consideration the estimated GNI per capita for males and females. For females, this value was $2,331, while for males, it was at $10,702.

Gender Inequality Index (GII) 

  • The index highlight gender-based inequalities in the countries, taken on three measures – economic activity, reproductive health and empowerment. 
  • The GII value of the country was 0.488, which made it rank at the 123rd place out of the 162 nations.
  • Economic activity is measured by the labour market participation, which stood for Indian males at 76.1% and for females at 20.5%. The index measures reproductive health using maternal mortality ratio and adolescent birth rate, which were at 133 deaths per 1 lakh live births and 13.2 births per 1,000 women respectively.
  • For empowerment, the index measures the percentage of female seats in the Parliament, which is at 13.5% in India, and the percentage of males and females with at least some secondary education.
  • For females, this was at 27.7% and for males, it was 47%, in India.



  • In a report published by ChildLine India, the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have proved to be new drivers of child marriages in rural Madhya Pradesh. There has been a significant increase in child marriages during these COVID times.

Key Findings:

  • Madhya Pradesh recorded 46 child marriages between November 2019 and March 2020, a figure that jumped to 117 in just three months of the lockdown from April to June 2020.
  • Across India 5,214 child marriages were reported in the first four months of lockdown between March to June.
  • Some parents consider the age period of 15-18 as unproductive, especially for girls, so they start finding a match for their child during this age period.
  • Underage girls are more prone to child marriage than boys.
  • Child Marriage is associated with higher rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections, including HIV.
  • The risk of maternal mortality is highest for adolescent girls under 15 years of age. They have 23% greater risk of disease onset including heart attack, diabetes, cancer, and stroke. They also face a high risk of psychiatric disorders.
  • Note: From one in four to approximately one in five, child marriages have seen a decline world over in the past 10 years, a Unicef report released on March 6, 2018. Still, approximately 650 million girls and women alive today were married before their 18th birthday.



  • Recently, the Insurance Information Bureau of India’s has released annual report on motor vehicle.

Key Findings

  • More than half the vehicles on the road in India are running without any insurance cover.
  • Nearly 57 per cent of the total vehicles on the road were uninsured as of March 2019, up from 54 per cent in March 2018.
  • The bulk of uninsured vehicles are two-wheelers, with the numbers being as high as 66 per cent. “There were 15 states which had uninsured vehicles to the extent of more than 60 per cent. In most cases, the renewals are not done after the first year.
  • India is one of the largest auto markets in the world with over 20 million vehicles sold annually. It is also among the countries with the highest number of road accidents and fatalities.
  • Nearly 75 per cent of the total vehicles in India consist of two-wheelers. In this class, over 60 per cent of the vehicles remain uninsured, whereas cars are largely insured, with the uninsured numbers quite low at around 10 per cent.

Mandatory Vehicle Insurance

  • According to the Motor Vehicles Act, 2019, it is mandatory for all vehicles to be insured with third-party vehicle insurance policy.
  • Third-party or liability insurance covers the legal liability arising due to death or disability of third-party loss or damage to their property.
  • Motor was the biggest line of business in the general insurance industry with nearly 40 per cent share of the gross underwritten premium.
  • Interestingly, six states — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Delhi — contributed nearly 50 per cent of the total policies and claims.
  • Overall, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh together contributed two-third of the total third party claims in FY 2018-19.

Road Accidents Statistics

  • It kills almost 5 lakh people annually in India.
  • The accidents, as well as accident-related deaths in the period 2010-2018, dropped drastically compared with the previous decades, despite the very high rate of growth of automobiles.
  • The road accident severity(the number of persons killed per 100 accidents) has increased by 0.6% in 2018 compared to 2017.
  • India, ranks 1st in the number of road accident deaths across the 199 countries reported in 2018 followed by China and US.



  • Recently, the World Health Organization has released 2019 Global Health Estimates.

Key Findings

  • The new data cover the period from 2000 to 2019.
  • Heart disease, which has remained the leading cause of death at the global level for the last 20 years, is now killing more people than ever before.
  • diabetes and dementia are also among the world’s top 10 causes of death.
  • non-communicable diseases now make up 7 of the world’s top 10 causes of death, an increase from 4 of the 10 leading causes in 2000.
  • Heart disease has remained the leading cause of death at the global level for the last 20 years.
  • Heart disease now represents 16 per cent of total deaths from all causes and the number of deaths from heart disease increased by more than two million since 2000 to nearly 9 million in 2019. Diabetes and dementia enter the top 10 causes of death.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are now among the top 10 causes of death worldwide, ranking 3rd in both the Americas and Europe in 2019. Women are disproportionally affected: globally, 65 per cent of deaths from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are women.
  • Deaths from diabetes increased by 70 per cent globally between 2000 and 2019, with an 80 per cent rise in deaths among males. In the Eastern Mediterranean, deaths from diabetes have more than doubled and represent the greatest percentage increase of all WHO regions.
  • The WHO said the estimates reveal trends over the last 2 decades in mortality and morbidity caused by diseases and injuries.
  • In 2019, pneumonia and other lower respiratory infections were the deadliest group of communicable diseases and together ranked as the fourth leading cause of death.
  • However, compared to 2000, lower respiratory infections were claiming fewer lives than in the past, with the global number of deaths decreasing by nearly half a million.
  • HIV/AIDS dropped from the 8th leading cause of death in 2000 to the 19th in 2019, reflecting the success of efforts to prevent infection, test for the virus and treat the disease over the last two decades. While it remains the fourth leading cause of death in Africa, the number of deaths has dropped by more than half, falling from over 1 million in 2000 to 435 000 in 2019 in Africa.
  • Tuberculosis is also no longer in the global top 10, falling from 7th place in 2000 to 13th in 2019, with a 30% reduction in global deaths. Yet, it remains among the top 10 causes of deaths in the African and South-East Asian regions, where it is the 8th and 5th leading cause respectively.
  • 6 of the top 10 causes of death in low-income countries are still communicable diseases, including malaria (6th), tuberculosis (8th) and HIV/AIDS (9th).
  • Heart disease, diabetes, stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were collectively responsible for nearly 100 million additional healthy life-years lost in 2019 compared to 2000.
  • Injuries are another major cause of disability and death, with the African region recording a significant rise in road traffic injuries since 2000.
  • Globally, deaths from road traffic injuries are 75 per cent male.



  • The New Climate Institute, German watch and CAN (Climate Action Network), recently released the Global Climate Change Performance Index 2020.

Key Findings

Indian Perspective

  • India has remained in the top 10 for the second year in a row.
  • This year India slid by a position to the tenth from ninth in the last index.
  • The report highlights that India has to focus more on renewable energy, as it has given the country an overall rating of 7.89 while placing it at the 27th position under this category with ‘medium’ performance.
  • In terms of greenhouse gases emissions, India ranks at 12th position with an overall ‘high’ rating (28.39 scores).
  • In the energy use sector, India ranks 10 with an overall ‘high’ rating (14.77 scores).

Global Scenario

  • None of the countries assessed are on the path to meet their respective Paris Agreement Commitments.
  • No country has been placed in the top three positions in the index.
  • China is at 33rd position and is deemed as the biggest emitter of GHGs.
  • The US is at 52nd position.
  • It mentions that only two G20 countries India and UK were among the high rankers and the rest are at the bottom of the index.
  • Referring to the largest fossil fuel exporting and producing nations like the US, Russia etc. it mentions that none of them have any useful federal climate policy in place to reduce carbon pollution.

Back to Basics


  • In 2017, the underlying methodology of the CCPI was revised and adapted to the new climate policy framework of the Paris Agreement from 2015.
  • The CCPI was extended in order to include the measurement of a country’s progress towards the Nationally Determined Contributions(NDCs) and the country’s 2030 targets.
  • The national performances are assessed based on 14 indicators in the following four categories:
    • GHG emissions(weighting 40%)
    • Renewable energy(weighting 20%)
    • Energy use(weighting 20%)
    • Climate policy(weighting 20%)



  • Recently, Emissions Gap Report 2020 was published by United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP).

Key Details

  • The report finds that, despite a brief dip in carbon dioxide emissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is still heading for a temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century – far beyond the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.

Findings from the Emission Gap Report 2020 on key aspects:

  • Record high GHG emissions: “Global GHG emissions continued to grow for the third consecutive year in 2019, reaching a record high of 52.4 Gigatonne carbon equivalent (GtCO2e) (range: ±5.2) without land-use change (LUC) emissions and 59.1 GtCO2e (range: ±5.9) when including LUC.”
  • Record carbon emission: “Fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (from fossil fuels and carbonates) dominate total GHG emissions including LUC (65 per cent) and consequently the growth in GHG emissions. Preliminary data suggest that fossil CO2 emissions reached a record 38.0 GtCO2 (range: ±1.9) in 2019.”
  • Forest fires increasing GHG emissions: “Since 2010, GHG emissions without LUC have grown at 1.3 per cent per year on average, with preliminary data suggesting a 1.1 per cent increase in 2019. When including the more uncertain and variable LUC emissions, global GHG emissions have grown 1.4 per cent per year since 2010 on average, with a more rapid increase of 2.6 per cent in 2019 due to a large increase in vegetation forest fires. LUC emissions account for around 11 per cent of the global total, with the bulk of the emissions occurring in relatively few countries.”
  • G20 countries account for bulk of emissions: Over the last decade, the top four emitters (China, the United States of America, EU27+UK and India) have contributed to 55 per cent of the total GHG emissions without LUC. The top seven emitters (including the Russian Federation, Japan and international transport) have contributed to 65 per cent, with G20 members accounting for 78 per cent. The ranking of countries changes dramatically when considering per capita emissions.
  • Is the GHG emission rate slowing? “There is some indication that the growth in global GHG emissions is slowing. However, GHG emissions are declining in Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) economies and increasing in non-OECD economies. Many OECD economies have had a peak in GHG emissions, with efficiency improvements and growth in low-carbon energy sources more than offsetting the growth in economic activity. Despite improving energy efficiency and increasing low-carbon sources, emissions continue to rise in countries with strong growth in energy use to meet development needs.”
  • On consumption-based emissions: “There is a general tendency that rich countries have higher consumption-based emissions (emissions allocated to the country where goods are purchased and consumed, rather than where they are produced) than territorial-based emissions, as they typically have cleaner production, relatively more services and more imports of primary and secondary products. In the 2000s, the gap between consumption and production was growing in rich countries but stabilised following the 2007–2008 global financial crisis. Even though rich countries have had higher consumption-based emissions than territorial-based emissions over the last decade, both emission types have declined at similar rates.”
  • Did the COVID-19 pandemic impact the emission level? “CO2 emissions could decrease by about 7 per cent in 2020 (range: 2–12 per cent) compared with 2019 emission levels due to COVID-19, with a smaller drop expected in GHG emissions as non-CO2 is likely to be less affected. However, atmospheric concentrations of GHGs continue to rise.”
  • Which sector reported the lowest dip in emission due to pandemic? “The reduction in GHG emissions in 2020 due to COVID-19 is likely to be significantly larger than the 1.2 per cent reduction during the global financial crisis in the late 2000s. Studies indicate that the biggest changes have occurred in transport, as COVID-19 restrictions were targeted to limit mobility, though reductions have also occurred in other sectors.”
  • What about other GHGs (excluding carbon dioxide) level? “Although CO2 emissions will decrease in 2020, the resulting atmospheric concentrations of major GHGs (CO2, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O)) continued to increase in both 2019 and 2020. Sustained reductions in emissions to reach net zero CO2 are required to stabilise global warming, while achieving net-zero GHG emissions will result in a peak then decline in global warming.”
  • Are countries on track to attain net zero level? “At the time of completing this report, 126 countries covering 51 per cent of global GHG emissions have net-zero goals that are formally adopted, announced or under consideration. If the United States of America adopts a net-zero GHG target by 2050, as suggested in the Biden-Harris climate plan, the share would increase to 63 per cent.”

Back to Basics

About UNEP

  • In 1988, the World Meteorological Organization and UNEP established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
  • UNEP is also one of several Implementing Agencies for the Global Environment Facility(GEF) and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol.
  • UNEP sometimes uses the alternative name UN Environment

Other reports published by UNEP:

  • Actions on Air Quality by UNEP 
  • Global Environment Outlook by UNEP 
  • The Rise of Environmental Crime by UNEP & INTERPOL
  • Environmental Rule of Law: First Global Report
  • Invest in a Healthy Planet



  • The year 2020 is set to be the among the three warmest on record, according to the latest State of the Global Climateprovisional report by World Meteorological Organization.

Key Findings

  • The decade 2011-2020 would be the warmest ever.
  • The global mean surface temperature for January-October was 1.2 degree Celsius higher than the pre-industrial baseline (1850-1900).
  • For that period, 2020 is the second-warmest year on record.
  • The record heat in 2020 has been despite near-La Niña conditions prevailing in the equatorial Pacific Ocean since August and moderate La Niña conditions prevailing since October.
  • The La Niña phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon generally has a cooling effect on many parts of the world.
  • Real-time data from specific locations, including Mauna Loa (Hawaii) and Cape Grim (Tasmania) indicate that levels of CO2, CH4 and N2O continued to increase in 2020.”
  • At such times, the average temperatures of the ocean surface (up to a depth of 300 feet or more) rise by 5-7°C above normal. 
  • Global sea-level rise was also similar to 2019 values and the general decreasing trend has continued mainly due to the increased melting of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.
  • 80%of ocean areas have experienced at least one marine heat wave (MHW) so far in 2020.
  • Extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones, floods, heavy rainfall and droughts which are also a well-known and expensive consequence of global warming impacted many parts of the world.
  • There was heavy rainfall and flooding in many parts of Asia and Africa leading to loss of human lives, property and livelihoods. The most affected were the Sahel and Greater Horn regions of Africa and China, India, Korea and Japan regions of Asia.



  • Recently, Human Freedom Index was published by American think tank Cato Institute and Fraser Institute in Canada.
  • The Human Freedom Index 2020, which uses data from 2008 to 2018, noted a decrease in personal freedoms since 2008 globally.

Key Findings

  • India has been placed at 111 out of 162 countries.
  • India was ranked110 in terms of personal freedom and 105 on economic freedom, with an overall score of 6.43 out of 10.
  • India ranks above neighbours Pakistan (140), Bangladesh (139) and China (129)but below Bhutan (108), Sri Lanka (94) and Nepal (92).
  • The index put China at 129, Bangladesh at 139and Pakistan at 140.
  • The first three countries: New Zealand, Switzerland and Hong Kong.
  • The index covered 76 indicators of personal, civic and economic freedom.
  • The three least-free countries in descending order are Venezuela, Sudan, and Syria.
  • The Human Freedom Index presents a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint.
  • It also finds a strong relationship between human freedom and democracy.



  • Recently, an index created by the Bhubaneswar-based Centre for Land Governance, an arm of consultancy firm NR Management Consultants was released.

Key Details

  • The index was prepared using the data on women’s operational holdings from the agriculture census of 2011, the share of adult women owning farm land from the Indian Human Development Survey of 2011-12, the share of women-headed households owning land from the Socio-economic Caste Census of 2011, and the share of women owning house and/or land (alone or jointly) from the National Family Health Survey of 2015-16.

Key Findings

  • Lakshadweep and Meghalaya are the best among all the 35 states and Union Territories at providing land rights to women
  • Punjab and West Bengal are the worst.
  • The index ranks states in terms of women holding land rights in percentage points. On average, 12.9% of Indian women hold land.
  • In the southern states, 15.4% of women hold land, and in the northeast, 14.1%. Despite such low figures, these states outperform the northern states (9.8%), and the eastern states (9.2%).
  • Women constitute a third (32%) of India’s agricultural labour force and contribute 55-66% to farm production, according to the Food and Agriculture  Yet, they hold only 12.8% of operational holdings in India, according to the Center for Land Governance index.



  • Recently, the International Labour Organization has published Global Wage Report for 2020-21.

Key Findings

  • The average wages in two-third countries — for which official data was available — fell or grew more slowly in the first six months of 2020 due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • Low-paid workers, disproportionately women, were the most affected by loss of working hours.
  • not all workers were equally affected by the crisis.
  • Those in lower-skilled occupations lost more working hours than higher-paying managerial and professional jobs.
  • Using data from the group of 28 European countries, the report showed that without temporary subsidies, the lowest paid 50 per cent of workers would have lost an estimated 17.3 per cent of their wages.
  • The impact on women was worse than that on men.
  • Globally, 266 million people (15 per cent of all wage earners) were earning less than the hourly minimum wage even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Women were over-represented among workers earning minimum wage or less. Sectors such as leisure, tourism and hospitality, which were among the worst hit, typically employ more women.
  • The report also looked at wage trends in 136 countries in the four years (2016-19) preceding the pandemic. It found that global wage growth fluctuated between 1.6 and 2.2 per cent.
  • Wages increased most rapidly in Asia and the Pacific and Eastern Europe and slowly in North America and northern, southern and western Europe.


  • Adequate and balanced wage policies, arrived at through strong and inclusive social dialogue, are needed to mitigate the impact of the crisis and support economic recovery.