Facts & Figures for UPSC Mains : January 2021

GEOGRAPHY

  • Area-wise Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra.
  • In terms of forest cover as percentage of total geographical area, the top five States are Mizoram (85.41%), Arunachal Pradesh (79.63%), Meghalaya (76.33%), Manipur (75.46%) and Nagaland (75.31%).

SOCIAL ISSUES

INEQUALITIES

  • The additional wealth acquired by India’s 100 billionaires since March when the lockdown was imposed is enough to give every one of the 138 million poorest ₹94,045.
  • The 2017-18 National Sample Survey suggested that less than 15% of rural Indian households have Internet as opposed to 42% of their urban counterparts.
  • In India in 2019, internet users were 67% male and 33% female, and this gap is even bigger in rural areas.

CHILD MARRIAGE

  • According to the UN, 37,000 girls under the age of 18 are married each d We now have the greatest number of married girls and girls at-risk of child marriage than ever before
  • 1 in 3 girls in the developing world are married before 18; 1 in 9 are married before the age of 15
  • If present trends continue, more than 140 million girls will be married before the age of 18 in the next decade
  • Globally, almost 400 million women now aged 20-49 were married before the age of 18

POVERTY

  • The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which forced economies around the world to lock down last year, may have increased global poverty by 119 million-124 million, according to updated estimates by World Bank. The estimates are based on the forecasts from the Global Economic Prospects (GEP) made by the international financial institution in January 2021.

SOCIAL JUSTICE-HEALTH /EDUCATION/HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

  • According to the India National Family and Health Survey 2015–2016 (NFHS-4), 53.1 per cent of women in India with 15–49 years of age and 58.5 per cent of children under five were anaemic.
  • According to the study of the Lancet, it is estimated that from 2000 to 2019, vaccinations have prevented 37 million deaths, and that this figure will increase to 69 million deaths for the period of 2000-2030.
  • The introduction of the National Iron Plus Initiative in 2011 sought to expand the beneficiaries of the National Nutritional Anaemia Prophylaxis Program to children with 6–59 months of age and although anaemia decreased by about 11 per cent between 2006 and 2016, it remains a major issue.
  • A ‘Lancet Global Health report’ also revealed that 23% of Indian men suffer from anaemia.
  • In India, 30 per cent of the 103 million people above the age of 60 display symptoms of depression, according to a recent government survey.
  • Around 116 million children are covered under the Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDMS) scheme.
  • According to the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) 2016-18, 22 per cent children of school-going age are stunted and 35 per cent are underweight.
  • As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 5.4 lakh deaths take place each year globally because of intake of industrially produced trans fatty acids.
  • An appeal by UNICEF in July 2020 stated that nearly 1.19 billion students in 150 countries continued to be affected by school closures.
  • WHO has recommended limiting trans fat to less than 1% of total energy intake. It has called for the total elimination of TFAs in the global food supply by 2023.
  • Between 30% and 50% of cancer deaths could be prevented by modifying or avoiding the key risk factors. Key risk factors include tobacco use, alcohol use, diet, exposure to ultraviolet radiation, pollution, chronic infections, etc.
  • More than 350 million people in Asia-Pacific were undernourished in 2019, which is half of the global total according to the report titled Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2020: Maternal and Child Diets at the Heart of Improving Nutrition.
  • Around 3 billion people across the world cannot afford a healthy diet and 1.9 billion of them are in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a recent United Nations agencies report.
  • According to WHO, globally, 2.1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water at home, and 2.3 billion do not have basic sanitation and 1 billion still practice open defecation.
  • At present 80-90% of the world’s whole Measles vaccine is provided by India.
  • In India there are 56-72 million people affected by rare diseases.
  • According to NFHS-5, in almost three-fourths of districts, 70% or more children aged 12-23 months are fully immunized against childhood diseases.
  • As the UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI), Report 2019 notes, India’s gross national income per capita has more than doubled since 2005, and the number of “multidimensionally poor” people fell by more than 271 million in the decade since 2005-06.
  • Half the Indians aged 45 years and above have a desirable body mass index (BMI) while 21 per cent are underweight, 21 per cent are overweight and 7 per cent are obese, according to a health ministry report.
  • India is often called the ‘diabetes capital’ of the world and the burden has been skewed towards the urban centres. Now, a recent study has shown by how much — 26.1 per cent urban respondents aged 60 years or more were diagnosed with high blood sugar levels. Kerala had the largest number of people with diabetes.  Diabetes caused 2.2 per cent of the total disability-adjusted life years (DALY), higher in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • One in every three senior citizens have been diagnosed with hypertension, according to a report released by the Union Ministry of Family and Health Welfare (MoFHW).
  • Child and maternal undernutrition is the single largest health risk factor in India, responsible for 15% of India’s total disease burden.
  • Almost 50.4 & of women in the 15-49 age group suffer from iron deficiency anaemia, and only 55% of children are exclusively breastfed for six months.
  • The Global Nutrition Report 2020 notes that India is among the 88 countries that will miss their global nutrition targets of 2025.
  • Around 26 per cent of Indians above the age of 45 years reported to have been diagnosed with hypertension. The prevalence was higher (32 per cent) in senior citizens (aged 60 years and above) than those in the age group 45 to 59 years (21 per cent). According to MoHFW statistics, hypertension accounts for 11 per cent of all deaths and 5 per cent of disability-adjusted life years (DALY) in India. The World Health Organisation (WHO) aims to reduce the prevalence of hypertension globally by 25 per cent by 2025.
  • Diarrhoea is one of the leading causes of deaths in children in this age group globally and claims approximately 1.1 lakh lives in India every year.
  • Bihar recorded the highest overall prevalence in diarrhoeal diseases, up from 10.4 per cent in NHFS-4 to 13.7 per cent in NHFS-5.
  • Health insurance coverage increased in the past five years in a majority of the Indian states and union territories but still remained well below half the population in most of them, according to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5). As many as 15 of the 22 states and UTs surveyed showed an increase in the health coverage. Other than Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Assam and Kerala, all major states have less than 50 per cent households with one member covered by a health scheme.

WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

  • As a report by McKinsey Global Institute suggests that if women participated in the Indian economy at the level men do, annual GDP could be increased by 60% above its projected GDP by 2025.
  • A report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2018 shows that, globally, women perform 76.2% of total hours of unpaid care work, more than three times as much as men. In Asia and the Pacific, this figure rises to 80%.
  • According to crime data from the National Crime Records Bureau, in 93.6% of sexual offences, the perpetrators were known to the victims.
  • The 2019 SDG Gender Index finds that, with just 11 years to go until 2030, nearly 40% of the world’s girls and women – 1.4 billion – live in countries failing on gender equality.
  • 57% of women on an average reported experiencing some form of gender-based discrimination in their lifetimes, with the highest rates of discrimination reported in middle-income countries like Kenya (83%), India (81%) and South Africa (72%).

CONSTITUTION, POLITY & GOVERNANCE

  • India figures among the 56 nations in the world that have retained the death penalty.
  • In the last 20 years, state assemblies across the country, on average, met for less than 30 days in a year. But states like Kerala, Odisha, Karnataka are an exception. The Kerala Vidhan Sabha, for example, has on an average met for 50 days every year for the last 10 years.
  • India Justice Report
    • At 25.3%, Bihar leads the list of 25 states for employing most women in its police force, according to the 2nd Annual survey on police, prisons, judiciary and legal aid, India Justice Report.
    • Tamil Nadu, has the highest percentage of women police officers (24.8%) , followed by Mizoram (20.1%)
    • Only 29% judges in HCs across the country are women, but no state except Sikkim has over 20% women judges.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

UNSC

  • Nearly half of UNSC meetings, 60% of its documents, and 70% of its resolutions are about peace and security in Africa.

G20

  • The study, Diets for a Better Future, has calculated the food-print of each G20 country and found that the bloc, representing 10 per cent of the countries and 64 per cent of the global population, accounts for 75 per cent of the global food-emissions.

INDIA AND GCC

  • Gulf Cooperation Council(GCC) account for around 34% of India’s crude imports. Qatar, in particular, is a dominant supplier of liquefied natural gas imports.
  • About 9.3 million Indians live and work in the Gulf countries.
  • In most of these countries, expat workers outnumber nationals (see Figure 1), and Indian’s account for the majority of expats in Kuwait, Oman and the UAE. About 70 percent of these are blue-collar workers, and the remaining are skilled professionals.
  • Expats in the Gulf remitted about US$49 billion in 2019—two percent of India’s GDP and two-thirds of total remittances to the country that year.
  • The GCC is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for over US$120 billion in trade flows in 2018-19.

INDIA AND CHINA

  • India will spend 10% funds of the Border Area Development Programme (BADP)only to improve the infrastructure along the China border.
  • The trade deficit, between India and China, declined to a five year-low of 45.8 billion USD in 2020, the lowest since
  • India’s trade deficit with China was 45.8 billion USD in 2020 and 56.77 billion USD in 2019.
  • China is also the largest arms supplier of the Bangladeshi military, providing 71.8% of weapons from 2008 to 2018.
  • China’s trade with Bangladesh is now about twice that of India. China’s trade with Nepal and Sri Lanka still lags India’s trade with those countries but the gap has shrunk.

INDIA AND SRI LANKA

  • India has extended a $400 million line of credit to Sri Lanka to help strengthen its infrastructure and economy. An additional $50 million to help Sri Lanka combat terrorism.

INDIA AND OMAN

  • For Oman, India was the 3rdlargest (after UAE and China) source for its imports and 3rd largest market (after UAE and Saudi Arabia) for its non-oil exports in 2018.

INDIA AND JAPAN

  • Japan was the 4thlargest investor for India in FY2019.

INDIA AND US

  • A recent analysis by experts of CARE Ratings (a credit rating agency) shows that over the past 20 years, India has always had a trade surplus (exports exceeding imports) with the US.

INDIA AND SINGAPORE

  • Ethnic Indians constitute about 9.1% or around 3.5 lakhs of the resident population of 3.9 million in Singapore.
  • Singapore is India’s 2ndlargest trade partner among ASEAN

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  • The Indian government has raised less than 3% of budgeted revenues from disinvestment in 2020-21.
  • The Gross Capital Formation (GCF)in agriculture as a percentage of the total GCF in the economy has fallen from 8.5 % in Financial Year 2011-12 to 6.5 % in Financial Year 2018-19.
  • India has about 146 million — or about 14.6 crore — farmers. About 86% of them have an average landholding size less than 2 hectares; they are referred to as India’s small and marginal farmers (SMF). The SMFs operate on about 47.35% of the total agri-area. More than half of India’s farmers reside in the five states of UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, MP, and Karnataka.
  • India’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020-21 dropped 8.7 per cent to Rs 99,155 in 2020-21 from Rs 1,08,620 a year before, according to the First Advance Estimates of National Income, released by the government.
  • Over 165 crore lithium batteries are estimated to have been imported into India between 2016-17 and 2019-20 (up to November 30, 2019), at an estimated import bill of upwards of $3.3 billion.
  • Two-thirds of the oil and half the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Indian imports come through the strait between Iran and Oman.
  • A sustainable economy is worth $12 trillion and can create 380 million jobs.
  • Up to 50 % of fruits and vegetables produced in developing countries are lost in the supply chain between harvest and consumption.
  • Global foreign direct investment (FDI) collapsed in 2020, falling by 42% to an estimated $859 billion, from $1.5 trillion in 2019 as per the latest Investment Trend Monitor report of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
  • According to Ministry of Road Transport, Road Accidents Report issued in 2018, India witnessed 4.67 lakh road accidents that killed 1.51 lakh citizens. India ranks first in the number of road accident deaths across the 199 countries reported in the World Road Statistics, 2018 followed by China and US.
  • According to a report published by the Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council (CROPC), the number of deaths due to lightning strikes reduced by nearly 37% in 2019-20.
  • According to the Census in 2011,people engaged in household duties have been treated as non-workers, even when 9 million women stated that “household work” was their main occupation.
  • According to ILO estimates in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, female labor force participation in India was 23.5% & owing to Covid-19, global female employment is 19% more at risk than male employment.
  • In a study of 68 countries, the Imperial College Business School found that after Indonesia, India has the second highest rate of shadow entrepreneurs. Shadow entrepreneurs are individuals who manage a business that sells legitimate goods and services but they do not register their businesses. This means that they do not pay tax, operating in a shadow economy where business activities are performed outside the reach of government authorities.
  • There are just 14.6 bank branches per 1 lakh adults in India.
  • The fiscal deficit in FY 2020-21 has widened to roughly 7% of GDP, which is double the pre-pandemic target of 3.5 % of GDP.
  • The RBI noted in its recent Financial Stability Report that the gross NPAs of the banking sector are expected to shoot up to 13.5% of advances by September 2021, from 7.5% in September 2020.
  • Though the toy market in India is worth USD 1 billion, 80% toys are imported.
  • According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, India’s poultry sector is worth ₹80,000 crores. The organized sector represents 80%, and the rest is distributed among unorganized sectors, including backyard poultry-keeping which is crucial for income and nutritional security.
  • According to Census 201155% of the agri-workforce comprises agri-labourers.
  • The share of agriculture in gross domestic product (GDP) has reached almost 20 per cent for the first time in the last 17 years, making it the sole bright spot in GDP performance during 2020-21, according to the Economic Survey 2020-2021.
  • Pollinators affect 35% of global agricultural land, supporting the production of 87% of the leading food crops worldwide, and thus forming the basis of our life.
  • Somewhere between 75% and 95% of all flowering plants on earth need help with pollination. Pollinators provide services to over 180,000 different plant species.

LIVESTOCK SPECIES

  • The buffalo population in India has grown from 10.5 crore in 2007 to 10.9 crore in 2019. Its population makes up for 20.47% of the country’s livestock.
  • The 20th Livestock Census, done in 2019, shows the population of stray cattle has increased in 20 states since the previous 2012 census.  India, has the world’s highest 303 million heads of cattle.
  • Indigenous cow population fell from 15.1 crore in 2012 to 14.2 crore in 2019
  • Exotic crossbred cows rose to 5.13 crore from 3.97 crore in the same period

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

  • In 2019, India was ranked as the second-largest online market in the world, next to China.
  • The number of internet users in India is approximately 700 million.
  • India has been the second most cyber-attacks affected country between 2016 to 2018, according to a new Data Security Council of India (DSCI) report. Further, the average cost for a data breach in India has risen 7.9% since 2017, with the average cost per breached record mounting to INR 4,552 ($64).
  • India secures a spot amongst the top 10 spam-sending countries in the world alongside USA
  • The quest is endless be it in physics or in metaphysics. Scientists seem to have so far discovered only 4 to 5 percent of what is there in the universe. The remaining 95 to 96 percent is categorised as dark matter- 73 percent as dark energy and 23 percent as dark matter.
  • According to a FICCI-EY report for 2020, there are 300 million users of online news sites, portals and aggregators in the country — making up approximately 46% of Internet users and 77% of smartphone users in India at the end of 2019. With 282 million unique visitors, India is the second largest online news consuming nation after China. In India, digital advertising spends in 2019 grew 24% year-on-year to Rs 27,900 crore, according to EY estimates, and are expected to grow to Rs 51,340 crore by 2022.
  • Infectious diseases topped the global risks chart, displacing climate change, in a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • India has broken into the top 50 of the Global Innovation Ranking, India ranks 3rdin peer reviewed science and engineering publications which shows an emphasis on basic research.
  • The Indian government is a major spender in R&D, while the investment of the private sector is very low when compared to Israel where private companies account for 70% of private investment in R&D. At 0.6% of GDP, India’s gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) is relatively low compared to other major economies with a GERD-to-GDP ratio of 1.5% to 3%.
  • The draft of the 5thNational Science Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP) proposes that at least 30% representation be ensured for women in all decision-making bodies, as well as “spousal benefits” be provided to partners of scientists belonging to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) community.
  • Over the last six years, women’s participation in S&T has doubled in India; however, women’s overall participation in R&D continues to be only about 16%.

BIODIVERSITY & ENVIRONMENT

  • India has a network of 903 Protected Areas covering about 5 per cent of its total geographic area of the country.
  • 70% of the global tiger population, 70% of Asiatic lions and more than 60% of leopard population in India is a certificate of India’s thriving biodiversity as these big cats sit at the top of food chain and their growing numbers shows the well-being of the whole ecosystem.
  • One-third of rivers in the United States have changed colour in the last three-and-a-half decades, a study published recently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters has shown.
  • According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD)’s State of the Climate Report, the year 2020 was the eighth warmest since India started keeping records in
  • A new study shows that emissions of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) from grasslands increased by a factor of 2.5 since 1750 mainly due to increased emissions from livestock.
  • According to the Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB), India generated more than 10 lakh tonnes of e-waste in 2019-20, an increase from 7 lakh tonnes in 2017-18. Against this, the e-waste dismantling capacity has not been increased from 7.82 lakh tonnes since 2017-18.
  • It is in the Arctic that global warming presents its most dramatic face; the region is warming up twice as fast as the global average. The ice cap is shrinking fast — since 1980, the volume of Arctic sea ice has declined by as much as 75 per cent.
  • In 2018, the Ministry of Environment had told the tribunal that 95% of e-waste in India is recycled by the informal sector and scrap dealers unscientifically dispose of it by burning or dissolving it in acids.
  • According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, nations may need to remove between 100 billion and 1 trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere this century to avert the worst effects of climate change, far more than can be absorbed by simply planting more trees.
  • India’s sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions recorded a significant decline of approximately 6% in 2019 compared to 2018, the steepest drop in four years, according to a report from Greenpeace India and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).
  • An hour of videoconferencing can emit up to 157 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent (co2e) — enough to power a car for 2 kilometres — requires almost 2 litres of water and demands a land area adding up to about half the size of an iPhone, claims a new study published in the journal Resources, Conservation & Recycling. Leaving the camera off can reduce the footprint of the virtual meeting by 96 per cent.
  • The world’s first and biggest public poll on climate change has found that sixty four per cent of people believe climate change is a global emergency.
  • Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Sudan and Niger were the five African countries among the ten most-affected due to extreme weather in 2019 according to the index recently released by environmental think tank Germanwatch. The index also ranked India as the country that suffered the second-highest monetary loss due to climate change in 2019 after Japan.
  • In two decades (2000-2019), over 475,000 people lost their lives as a direct result of more than 11,000 extreme weather events globally and losses amounted to around $2.56 trillion (in purchasing power parities).
  • Puerto Rico, Myanmar and Haiti were the most-affected countries during these two decades. They are followed by the Philippines, Mozambique and the Bahamas.
  • India, the researchers found, has carbon and land footprints that are 42 per cent and 24 per cent higher than the world median, respectively, but water footprint that is 5 per cent lower.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than half of the world’s bird flu incidents take place in the Central Asian Flyway (CAF), which covers almost the entire Indian subcontinent.
  • About 40% of forest cover in India is prone to fires, with forests in the north-eastern region and central India being the most vulnerable.
  • An estimated 349,681 pregnancy losses per year in South Asia were associated with exposure to PM2.5 concentrations that exceeded India’s air quality standard (more than 40 µg/m³), accounting for 7% of annual pregnancy loss in the region from 2000-2016.
  • Going by the policy initiative Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT), introduced in October 2018 to promote CBG, these plants will produce 15 million tonnes of gas, enough to reduce the country’s CNG bill by 40 per cent. This needs an investment of Rs 1.75 lakh crore and will help generate 75,000 jobs.
  • According to the report “Preparing India for Extreme Climate Events” released by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), over 75% of districts in India are hotspots of extreme climate events.
  • According to the 2017 Global Burden of Disease report published by the Lancet Planetary Health journal, India, which accounts for 18% of the global population, recorded 26% of the global premature deaths and disease burden due to air pollution. One in every eight deaths in India (2017) could be attributed to air pollution, which now contributes to more disease burden than smoking.
  • Emissions had raised the risk of extreme fire weather by 20 per cent from preindustrial levels in western and eastern North America, the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and the Amazon by 2005.
  • SO2 emissions from power plants are responsible for over half the anthropogenic emissions in India. SO2 in the ambient air reacts to form more deadly secondary particulates in the ambient air.
  • By 2080, GHG emissions were expected to increase the risk of extreme fire weather by at least 50 per cent in western North America, equatorial Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia.

SECURITY

  • According to the Global Fire Power Index 2021, India’s army is considered the world’s fourth strongest army.
  • According to the findings of a study by United Service Institution of India(USI), a Service think tank, more than half of Indian Army personnel seem to be under severe stress.
  • India’s target was to export 5 billion USD worth of military hardware by 2025.

MAJOR REPORTS & INDICES

INDIA JUSTICE REPORT 2020

Context

  • Recently, the India Justice Report released by Tata Trusts in collaboration with the Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, TISS-Prayas, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.
  • It is the second annual survey on police, prisons, judiciary and legal aid.

Key Details

  • It tracked the rise and fall in each state’s structural and financial capacity to deliver justice using the latest available government figures from budgets, human resources, infrastructure, workload, and diversity across police, judiciary, prisons and legal aid in 25 states.
  • Data for 7 Union Territories (UTs) and 4 other unranked states is also provided.

Key Rankings

  • Maharashtra was ranked topmost among 18 states for the second time in a row, followed by Tamil Nadu.
  • Amongst the smaller states, Goa remained at the top and Arunachal Pradesh at the bottom.

Women ratio in police forces-

  • Bihar (25.3 %) leads the list of 25 states for employing most women in its police force and is the only state to have more than 20 per cent women in the police force, women account for only 6.1 per cent in the officer category.
  • Tamil Nadu has the highest percentage of women police officers (24.8%), followed by Mizoram (20.1%).
  • Gujarat was the only state that saw a rise in women’s employment across all departments of police, prisons and judiciary in 2020.

Women ratio in the judiciary-

  • Overall, only 29 per cent judges in HCs across the country are women, but no state except Sikkim has over 20 per cent women judges.
  • Sikkim tops the list with 33.3 percent women.
  • Andhra Pradesh has the highest percentage of women HC judges at 19%, followed by Haryana with 18.2%, and Tamil Nadu in third place with 16.7%.
  • Four states — Bihar, Uttarakhand, Tripura and Meghalaya — have no woman judge in its high courts.

Prison occupancy-

    • The ovrall overcrowding had increased and 69 per cent of the prison population still comprised people awaiting investigation and trial.

Legal aid-

    • In the last 25 years, since 1995, only 1.5 crore people have received legal aid, though 80% of the country’s population is entitled to it.

Social-

    • On diversity, Karnataka is the only state to meet its quotas for SC, ST and OBC in both officer cadre and constabulary.
    • Chhattisgarh being the only other state that meets the diverse requirements for the constabulary.

INVESTMENT TRENDS MONITOR REPORT

Context

  • Recently, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has released the Investment Trends Monitor Report.

Key Findings

Indian Scenario

  • As per the report, saw a 13 per cent rise in FDI saw the total foreign investments boosted by investments in the digital sector for 2020 touching $57 billion
  • India’s 13% rise in FDI saw the total foreign investments for 2020 touching $57 billion.
  • The report noted that acquisitions in India’s digital economy was the largest contributor to this rise.
  • Further, India and Turkey are attracting record numbers of deals in information consulting and digital sectors, including e-commerce platforms, data processing services and digital payments.

Global scenario

  • Global FDI has collapsed in 2020, falling by 42% to an estimated $859 billion, from $1.5 trillion in 2019 FDI finished 2020 more than 30% below the trough after the global financial crisis in 2009 and back at a level last seen in the 1990s.
  • The decline was concentrated in developed countries, where FDI flows fell by 69% to an estimated $229 billion.
  • Europe: Flows to Europe dried up completely to -4 billion (including large negative flows in several countries).
  • A sharp decrease was also recorded in the United States (-49%) to $134 billion.
  • The declining trend was also seen in Russia and the U.K

Developing countries:

  • The decline in developing economies was relatively measured at -12% to an estimated $616 billion.
  • The share of developing economies in global FDI reached 72% – the highest share on record. China topped the ranking of the largest FDI recipients.
  • The fall in FDI flows across developing regions was uneven, with -37% in Latin America and the Caribbean, -18% in Africa and -4% in developing Asia.
  • East Asia was the largest host region, accounting for one-third of global FDI in 2020. FDI to the transition economies declined by 77% to $13 billion.

Cross-border merger and acquisition (M&A) sales

  • It grew 83% to $27 billion, citing social networking giant Facebook’s acquisition of 9.9% stake in Reliance Jio platforms, via a new entity, Jaadhu Holdings LLC.
  • Similarly, deals in the energy sector propped up M&A values in IndiaFlows to North America declined by 46% to $166 billion, with cross-border mergers and acquisitions dropping by 43%.
  • Announced greenfield investment projects also fell by 29% and project finance deals tumbled by 2%.

UNITED NATIONS ADAPTATION GAP REPORT 2020

Context

  • The United Nations Adaptation Gap Report, 2020 was recently released by the UNEP.

Key Findings

  • The annual cost of adaptation to the effects of climate change for developing countries is estimated to at least quadruple by 2050.
  • The current cost for developing countries is in the range of $70 billion (Rs 5.1 lakh crore) and may rise to $140-300 billion in 2030 and $280-500 billion in 2050.
  • The world is heading for at least a 3°C temperature rise this century, according to current Paris Agreement pledges.
  • The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted adaptation efforts but its effect is not yet quantified.
  • Adaptation efforts also impacted by devastating natural calamities like floods, droughts, storms, forest fires and locust plagues impacting around 50 million lives globally.
  • Three-quarters of all the countries have adopted at least one climate change adaptation planning instrument and most developing countries are working on national adaptation plans.

HENLEY PASSPORT INDEX 2021

Context

  • Recently, the Henley Passport Index 2021was released by Henley and Partners.

Key Highlights

  • Japan tops the list of being the most powerful passport in the world for the year 2021.
  • Singapore is in second place (with a score of 190) and South Korea ties with Germany in third place (with a score of 189).
  • Countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Switzerland are tied at the seventh position with regard to the most powerful passports in the world with a visa-free score of 185.
  • Pakistan (rank 107) and Nepal (rank 104)continue to be in the ‘worst passports to hold’ category with Pakistan having a visa-free score of 32 countries and Nepal having a score of 38 destinations.
  • Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be the countries with the worst passport to hold with a passport score of 29, 28 and 26 respectively.
  • The ascendance of Asia-Pacific (APAC) passports in the Henley Passport Index rankings is a relatively new phenomenon adding.

India’s position

  • India ranks 85th in the most powerful passport report with a visa-free score of 58.
  • India slipped nine places on the list, from 77 in 2010 to 86 in 2019.
  • The position of India among the BRICS countries is Brazil (19th), Russia (50th), India (85th), China (70th) and South Africa (54th).
  • The position of India among the SAARC nations is Afghanistan (110th), Bangladesh (101st), Bhutan (90th), India (85th), Maldives (62nd), Nepal (104th), Pakistan (107th) and Sri Lanka (100th).

 

LONGITUDINAL AGEING STUDY OF INDIA (LASI) WAVE-1 REPORT 

Context

  • Recently, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare released INDIA REPORT on Longitudinal Ageing Study of India (LASI) Wave-1.

Key Details

  • The LASI, Wave 1 covered a baseline sample of 72,250 individuals aged 45 and above and their spouses including 31,464 elderly persons aged 60 and above and 6,749 oldest-old persons aged 75 and above from all States and Union Territories (UTs) of India (excluding Sikkim).
  • It is India’s first and the world’s largest ever survey that provides a longitudinal database for designing policies and programmes for the older population in the broad domains of social, health, and economic well-being.
  • Every fourth Indian above the age of 60 and every fifth above the age of 45 reported poor health.
  • More than half the respondents above 60 in Kerala and Tamil Nadu said they suffer from poor health. The figure was slightly lower in Andhra Pradesh, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal and Puducherry where around a quarter rated their health as poor.
  • In Meghalaya, Daman & Diu, Nagaland, Gujarat, and Arunachal Pradesh, however, over half the senior citizens surveyed recorded good SRH.
  • The evidence from LASI will be used to further strengthen and broaden the scope of National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly and also help in establishing a range of preventive and health care programmes for older population and most vulnerable among them.
  • Highlighting the importance of the Longitudinal Aging Study in India (LASI), “In 2011 census, the 60+ population accounted for 8.6% of India’s population, accounting for 103 million elderly people.
  • Growing at around 3% annually, the number of elderly age population will rise to 319 million in 2050.75% of the elderly people suffer from one or the other chronic disease.
  • 40% of the elderly people have one or the other disability and 20% have issues related to mental health. This report will provide base for national and state level programmes and policies for elderly population.

Back to basics

  • LASI is a full–scale national survey of scientific investigation of the health, economic, and social determinants and consequences of population ageing in India.
  • The National Programme for Health Care of Elderly, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has undertaken the Longitudinal Ageing Study of India, through International Institute for Population Sciences, (IIPS), Mumbai in collaboration with Harvard School of Public Health, University of Southern California, USA, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and National Institute on Ageing.
  • The LASI has embraced state-of-the-art large-scale survey protocols and field implementation strategies including representative sample of India and its States, socioeconomic spectrum, an expansive topical focus, a longitudinal design, and the use of Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) technology for data collection, quality control, and Geographic Information System (GIS).
  • A unique feature of LASI is the coverage of comprehensive biomarkers. No other survey in India collects detailed data on health and biomarkers together with information on family and social network, income, assets, and consumption.

National Programme for Health Care of Elderly

  • The programme is being implemented under the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) flexible pool within the overarching umbrella of the National Health Mission for Districts and below in the States.

WORLD FOOD PRICE INDEX: FAO

Context

  • Recently, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in its Food Price Index averaged 107.5 points in December 2020 which is 2.2 per cent higher than the previous month.

Back to basics

About the World Food Price Index

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food price index, measures monthly changes in international prices of a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar
  • It was introduced in 1996 as a public good to help in monitoring developments in the global agricultural commodity markets.
  • It consists of the average of five commodity group price indices weighted by the average export shares of each of the groups over 2014-2016.
  • The five indices are Cereal Price Index, Vegetable Oil Price Index, Dairy Price Index, Meat Price Index and Sugar price index.

THE LANCET PLANETARY HEALTH JOURNAL

Context

  • Poor air quality is associated with a considerable proportion of pregnancy loss in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, according to a modelling study to be published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal.

Key Findings

  • An estimated 349,681 pregnancy losses per year in South Asia were associated with exposure to PM2.5 concentrations that exceeded India’s air quality standard (more than 40 µg/m³), accounting for 7% of annual pregnancy loss in the region from 2000-2016
  • Among some of the explanations why air pollution can cause pregnancy loss is that fine particles have been reported to cross the blood placenta barrier and harm the embryo directly. Exposure to poor air quality can cause disorders such as inflammation, oxidative stress and blood pressure elevation which can act as factors to increase the risk of pregnancy loss
  • Of the pregnancy loss cases, 77% were from India, 12% from Pakistan, and 11% from Bangladesh.
  • Gestational exposure to PM2.5 was associated with an increased likelihood of pregnancy loss, and this remained significant after adjusting for other factors. Each increase in 10 µg/m³ was estimated to increase a mother’s risk of pregnancy loss by 3%. The increase in risk was greater for mothers from rural areas or those who became pregnant at an older age, compared to younger mothers from urban areas.
  • Although WHO’s guidelines aims for a safer level of air pollution, the authors said that India’s standard is a more realistic target level, given the high average levels of air pollution in the region and the need to balance practical governance and public health.

WORLD CANNOT AFFORD A HEALTHY DIET

Context

  • Around 3 billion people across the world cannot afford a healthy diet and 1.9 billion of them are in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a recent United Nations agencies report.

Key Findings

  • Of the 1.9 billion people, 1.3 billion live in southern Asia, 230 million in eastern Asia, 325.5 million in south-east Asia and 0.5 million in Oceania.
  • A nutritionally adequate diet tends to cost $2 to $3 (Rs 145-220) per day in most countries, rich or poor, but is more expensive in Japan and South Korea.
  • The region’s poor have been the worst-affected by the onslaught of crises in 2020 and have been forced to choose cheaper and less nutritious foods, the report titled Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2020: Maternal and Child Diets at the Heart of Improving Nutrition said.
  • More than 350 million people in Asia-Pacific were undernourished in 2019, which is half of the global total.
  • About 74.5 million children under-five were stunted (too short for their age) and 31.5 million suffered from wasting (too thin for their height).
  • The majority of these children (55.9 million stunted and 25.2 million wasted) live in southern Asia.
  • At the same time, the number of overweight and obesity children increased rapidly, especially in South-Eastern Asia and the Pacific.
  • An estimated 14.5 million children under five were overweight or obese, the study found.
  • The study has been jointly published by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the UN Children’s Fund, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization.
  • The impact of a poor diet is most severe in the first 1,000 days of human life.
  • In India, just 42 per cent of children aged 6-23 months are fed the required number of times per day.
  • Anaemia in children under five remains a public health challenge in many countries across Asia and the Pacific, despite significant improvements in anaemia status (more than 10 percentage points) in Bhutan, India, Iran, the Maldives, Nepal, Philippines and Vanuatu.

GLOBAL RISK REPORT 2021

Context

  • Recently, the 16th edition of Global Risk Report, 2021 has been released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • Report findings are based on the Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS). GRPS was undertaken by more than 650 members of leadership communities of WEF (World Economic Forum).

Key Findings

  • The risk posed by infectious diseases has been ranked as no. 1 on the list of risks, while in 2020 was listed at 10th place.
  • The immediate human and economic cost of COVID-19 is huge.
  • Extreme weather is the top-most climate-related risk because of the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • It threatens to scale back years of progress on reducing global poverty and inequality. It will also damage social cohesion and global cooperation.
  • Despite the impact of COVID-19, climate-related matters make up the bulk of this year’s risk list. The report has described these threats as an existential threat to humanity.
  • Digitalization which was accelerated by the pandemic is widening the digital gap between individuals and across countries. Thereby it is aggravating existing inequalities, polarization, and regulatory uncertainties.
  • Businesses under increasing pressures from inward-looking national agendas, greater market concentration, and popular scrutiny and volatility.
  • It predicted, Carbon emissions due to human activities will rise in both developed and developing countries after the pandemic

Key Recommendations

  • According to the report, response to COVID-19 offers four governance opportunities to strengthen the overall resilience of countries, businesses, and the international community:
    • Formulating analytical frameworks that take a holistic and systems-based view of risk impacts.
    • Investing in high-profile risk champions to encourage national leadership and international cooperation.
    • Improving risk communications and combating misinformation.
    • Exploring new forms of public-private partnership on risk preparedness.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC PROSPECTS (GEP) 2021

Context

  • Recently, the World Bank (WB) has released the Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report which shows that global economic output is projected to grow by 4% in 2021 assuming widespread roll-out of a Covid-19 vaccine throughout the year, which is still 5% below pre-pandemic levels.

Key Findings

  • The global recovery has been dampened by the resurgence of the Covid-19 but is expected to strengthen as confidence, trade and consumption start improving, supported by vaccinations.
  • After an estimated 3.6% contraction in 2020, the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to grow at 3.5% in 2021 and the Euro area at 3.6%.
  • Emerging Market and Developing Economies (EMDEs) are expected to grow at an average of 4.6% in 2021-22 reflecting the above-average rebound in China (forecast at 7.9% and 5.2% for 2021 and 2022 respectively).
  • There has been a massive increase in global debt levels because of the pandemic with EMDE government debt expected to increase by 9 percentage points of GDP in 2020.

Global Scenario

South Asia

  • The South Asian region’s economy is expected to contract by 6.7 % in 2020 due to the pandemic.
  • The South Asian region saw the steepest increase in global debt levels.
  • Growth in South Asia is expected to be 3.3% in 2021 and 3.8% in 2022, significantly lower than pre-pandemic projections.

India

  • India is expected to grow at 5.4% in the fiscal year 2021-22 and 5.2% in fiscal 2022-23 after an expected contraction of 9.6% in fiscal 2020-21.
  • India’s government debt is expected to increase by 17 percentage points of GDP while servicing output contracts over 9%.
  • In 2021, the rebound from the low base is expected to be countered by subdued private investment growth due to financial sector weakness.

HEALTH MINISTRY SURVEY ON INDIA’S SENIOR CITIZENS

Context

  • About 30 per cent of India’s senior citizens from below-poverty-line households received benefits from the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), estimated a recent government survey on the country’s ageing population.

Key Findings

  • In fact, only 55 per cent of those aged 60 and above were aware of the scheme, according to the survey of over 72,000 people above the age of 45.
  • The scheme, launched in 1995, provides Rs 600-Rs 1,000 to the elderly who live below the poverty line.
  • The awareness and enrolment for two other well-known social security schemes for the elderly were even lower, the report released on January 6 said.
  • A majority of the elderly population (54 per cent) have not heard about the Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS), which provides Rs 300 to widowed women in the BPL category above the age of 40.
  • Less than a quarter of them received the pension in the duration of the study from April 2017 to December 2018.
  • The Kendriya Annapurna Yojana (a scheme that distributes foodgrains to BPL citizens over the age of 65) was subscribed by just 2.5 per cent of the urban elderly population and 1.5 per cent of their rural counterparts.
  • Less than 13 per cent of the senior citizens in the villages and cities of India are aware of the scheme.
  • The awareness of the IGNOAPS and IGNWPS is higher among the elderly in Haryana (78 per cent), Himachal Pradesh (77 per cent), Bihar (82 per cent), Jharkhand (78 per cent), Odisha (74 per cent), Assam (84 per cent), and Dadra & Nagar Haveli (78 per cent).
  • The level of awareness for the IGNOAPS, IGNWPS, and Annapurna scheme increases as the level of education increases.
  • The percentages of the elderly receiving these benefits are lower in urban areas than in the villages.
  • Although the schemes are meant for the elderly in BPL households, benefits of an old-age pension went to 18 per cent male senior citizens from non-BPL households and widow pensions went to 16 per cent elderly women from non-BPL households.
  • Thirty per cent of the beneficiaries of the old-age pension scheme stated that there was a delay in receiving the money and 24 per cent experienced problems in producing documents.
  • Even the concessions provided by the government to senior citizens such as train, bus and flight discounts, special interest rates for bank accounts and loans and income tax rebates are known by less than a third (28 per cent) of senior citizens.
  • The awareness of concessions amongst the elderly is highest in the state of Maharashtra (65 per cent) and lowest in the state of Nagaland (2 per cent). Except Maharashtra, majority of the elderly in other states and union territories are not aware of any such concession.
  • A higher proportion of the elderly from urban areas (37 per cent) compared to rural areas (25 per cent) have used the concessions at least once in their life. The utilisation was higher in men (33 per cent) than women (24 per cent).
  • The awareness and utilisation of these concessions among the rural elderly are rather limited and therefore, campaigns focusing on rural areas through NGOs and Panchayats may help in creating better awareness among rural elderly.