Facts & Figures for UPSC Mains – September 2020 Current Affairs

Geography

  1. The North-East Region (NER) has immense natural resources, accounting for around 34% of the country’s water resources and almost 40% of India’s hydropower
  2. With over 600 million people living along the fault line across the Himalayan belt, where the earthquake exposure is very high.
  3. Globally, India ranks 4th in terms of renewable power.
  4. India has enhanced its installed renewable capacity by 2.5 times and increased our solar installed capacity by more than 13 times.
  5. Rivers make up 23 % of international borders, 17 % of the world’s state and provincial borders and 12 % of all county-level local borders, according to the Global Subnational River-Borders database.
  6. 51 per cent of farmlands in India are still rain-fed and 40 per cent of food production of the country comes from these farmlands, according to the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
  7. India faces an unprecedented water shortage. A prime reason for this is inapt incentive structure to use water in agriculture that already consumes 89 per cent of the available groundwater.
  8. Paddy consumes over 10 times more water than pulses and oilseeds that require just 500 to 600 litres to produce one kilogram of grain.
  9. There had been an unexpected increase in natural disasters like cyclones and floods during the last three years. Based on the statistics during 1891-2017, five cyclones develop over the North Indian Ocean on an average in a year, with four developing over the Bay of Bengal and one over the Arabian Sea.

SOCIAL ISSUES / SOCIETY

Populations & Associated Issues

  1. In 2011, 70 per cent of Indian youths lived in rural areas.

Migration & Associated Issues

  • A total of 10.4 million migrant workers returned to their home states due to loss of jobs after complete lockdown in the country in the wake of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the data presented by Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment. Nearly 71 per cent of these belonged to four states, namely Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Rajasthan.
  • As per India’s 2017 Economic Survey, internal migration accounts for 100 million people in Indiae. nearly one-fifth of India’s labour force.
  • As per the Census, India had 45.6 crore migrants in 2011 (38% of the population) compared to 31.5 crore migrants in 2001 (31% of the population).
  • As per the Report of the Working Group on Migration, 2017 under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, 17 districts account for the top 25% of India’s total male out-migration. Then of these districts are in UP, six in Bihar and one in Odisha.
  • The Report of the Working Group on Migration shows that the share of migrant workers is the highest in construction sector for females (67 per cent in urban areas, 73 per cent in rural areas), while highest number of male migrant workers are employed in public services (transport, postal, public administration services) and modern services (financial intermediation, real estate, renting, education, health) at 16 per cent each and 40 per cent each in rural and urban areas, respectively.
  • The Migration Report 2019 released by the United Nations has placed India as the leading country of origin of international migrants in 2019 with a diaspora strength of 17.5 million.

Child Specific Issues

  • India is the home to largest number of child brides, according to the UN Population Fund in 2012. Nearly 27 per cent women aged 20-24 years were married before attaining 18 years of age.
  • The prevalence of female child marriage, however, declined by 20 per cent in the past 10 years, according to the International Institute for Population Sciences and ICF International Inc in 2017.

Autonomy and health-based indicators for married women less than 18 years (2015-16)

Country Women anaemic (in per cent) Women with a bank account (in per cent) Women with land (in per cent) Women who experienced spousal violence (in per cent)
India 52.68 41.24 20.85 33.7

State Specific Data on India’s Child Bride

  • The proportion of females getting married before 18 years was greater towards the northern region, including Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, parts of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
  • States like Kerala, parts of Gujarat, Punjab and Tamil Nadu — including the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir — had a considerably lower proportion of females marrying below 18 years.
  • At least a quarter of women in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand (except southern bordering districts), Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh (except a few districts that bordered the west and a few city pockets) and West Bengal, however, married when they were below 18 years.

Constitution, Polity & Governance

  1. 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 Departmentally-related Standing Committees (DRSCs) concerned, this proportion came down to 27% in the 16th Lok Sabha.
  2. Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) report:
  • Nearly half of the newly-elected Lok Sabha members (17th Lok Sabha) have criminal charges against them, a 26% increase as compared to 2014.
  • Of the 539 winning candidates analyzed by the ADR, as many as 233 MPs or 43% have criminal charges.
  • According to the report, 43% of the newly elected MPs are charged with criminal offenses, while 29% of them are facing serious criminal charges such as murder, rape and kidnapping.
  • A report submitted in the Supreme Court has said there are a total 4,442 cases pending against legislators across the country. Of this, the number of cases against sitting Members of Parliament and members of State legislatures was 2,556.
  • The sittings of Parliament are steadily declining over the years. From 100-150 sittings in the 1950s, the number is down to 60-70 sittings per year in 2019-20.
  • In the last 10 years, Parliament met for 67 days per year, on average.

Issues Relating to Poverty and Hunger

  1. According to the latest UN estimates, 83 to 132 million more people may suffer extreme hunger in 2020 as a result of the economic recession triggered by the pandemic.
  2. The U.N. World Food Programme has warned that an additional 130 million people could face acute food insecurity by the end of 2020, on top of the 135 million people who were already acutely food insecure before the crisis, because of income and remittance losses.
  3. According to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women report, the poverty rate for women has increased to 9.1 per cent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By 2021, for every 100 men living in poverty between ages 25 and 34 years globally on $1.9 (Rs 139.38) a day, there will be 121 poor women by 2030. The pandemic will push 96 million into poverty, but 47 million of these will be women. South Asia, however, will experience a resurgence of poverty after making increasing gains, the report pointed out. The gender gap will widen in the region: For every 100 men between ages 25 and 34 years living in poverty, there will be 129 women, an increase from 118 projected for 2021. The world will need around $2 trillion to fight back extreme poverty, the report estimated. To close the gender inequality, $48 billion will be needed.
  4. New research estimates that climate change will drive 68 million to 132 million into poverty by 2030.
  5. According to the World Bank, the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact could push about 100 million people into extreme poverty.
  6. It is estimated that women account for two-thirds of the 1.4 billion people currently living in extreme poverty and make up 60% of the 572 million working poor in the world.
  7. According to the Trade and Development Report 2020 of UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), between 90 million and 120 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty in the developing world, with close to 300 million facing food insecurity

Social Media

  • A 2019 Microsoft study found that over 64% of Indians encounter fake news online, the highest reported amongst the 22 countries surveyed.
    • According to ICUBETM 2019 report, India has 574 million active Internet users as of 2019.
    • India’s rural areas are driving its digital revolution, with a 45% growth in internet penetration in 2019 as compared to urban India’ s 11%.
    • Rural India has 264 million internet users this is expected to reach 304 million in 2020.
    • India is the second-largest online market, behind China.

International Relations

  • Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey are worlds the top five shipbreaking countries, accounting for more than 98 per cent of the global shipbreaking by gross tonnage.

India and US

  • India was 13th largest goods export market for U.S. exporters in 2018.
  • In 2019, overall USA-India bilateral trade in goods and services reached USD 149 billion. India has trade surplus with US for last few years.
  • The top U.S. export categories (2-digit HS) to India in 2018 were: precious metal and stone (diamonds), mineral fuels, aerospace, machinery, and optical and medical instruments.
  • India was the United States’ 10th largest source of goods imports in 2018.

India and China

  • Of the total import of API and intermediates worth Rs. 249 billion in 2019, around Rs.169 billion, amounting to 68%, was from China alone. In 2019-20, according to a Lok Sabha response, more than 87% of India’s API imports were from 10 countries alone. After China, USA had the second highest share with 3.53% followed by Italy with 3.02%.

India and SAARC

  1. India has contributed 10 million USD to SAARC Covid-19 Emergency Fund and manufactured essential drugs, Covid protection and testing kits, for countries in the SAARC region.
  2. The SAARC comprises 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world’s population and 4.21% (US$3.67 trillion) of the global economy, as of 2019.

India and South Asia

  1. India’s trade with countries in South Asia has remained less than 4% of its global trade since the late 1980s while China has increased its exports to the region by 546%, from $8 billion in 2005 to $52 billion in 2018. South Asia remains one of the least economically integrated regions in the world. India’s largest export market in the region is Bangladesh, followed by Sri Lanka and Nepal, whereas the largest imports by value come from Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

BIMSTEC

  1. BIMSTEC brings together 1.5 billion people – 21% of the world population, and a combined GDP of over US$ 3.5 trillion (2018).
  2. India is currently the largest contributor to the BIMSTEC secretariat’s budget.

Indian Ocean

  1. Around 80 percent of the container traffic between Asia and the rest of the world, and 60 percent of the world’s oil supplies, pass through the Indian Ocean.

West Asia

  1. West Asia is the world’s largest oil-producing region accounting for 34% of world production, 45% of crude oil exports and 48% of oil proven reserves.

India and Gulf

  1. With over eight million Indian diasporas in the Gulf remitting annually nearly $50 billion, annual merchandise trade of over $150 billion.

G20

  1. The G20 membership comprises a mix of the world’s largest advanced and emerging economies, representing about two-thirds of the world’s population, 85% of global gross domestic product, 80% of global investment and over 75% of global trade.

G7

  1. Together, the G7 countries represent 40% of global GDP and 10% of the world’s population. The group includes the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Japan, France and Italy.

Africa

  1. According to World Bank, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) — which connects 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at $3.4 trillion — can mitigate some of the negative economic effects of the pandemic by supporting regional trade and value chains. It can also provide a framework for increased cooperation, integration, and policy reform in Africa.

Skill Development / Human Resource

  1. According to Census 2011, India has 55 million potential workers between the ages of 15 and 35 years in rural areas. At the same time, the world is expected to face a shortage of 57 million workers by 2020. 

Social Justice / Health / Social Issues

  1. As per the Tobacco Free Union, over 1 million people die from tobacco-related diseases in India every year.
  2. The global tobacco industry profits per year come to $35 billion, it is also a cause of nearly 6 million annual deaths.
  3. Around 16 per cent of India’s rural habitations, having a population of 77.69 per cent, had provisions of more than 40 litre per capita per day (lpcd) of potable drinking water. Around 17.89 per cent of rural habitations, having a population of 19.34 per cent, had service levels of less than 40 lpcd potable water, whereas 3.16 per cent rural habitations having 2.97 per cent population, had issues of water quality
  4. Sex ratio at birth had shown an improvement of 16 points at the national level — 934 in 2019-20, from 918 in 2014-15.
  5. The millennial generation is vast, with 426 million millennials in India alone, almost 34% of the country’s
  6. Registry of Hospitals in Network of Insurance (ROHINI) data suggests that only 3% of private hospitals are eligible for the Ayushman Bharat scheme.
  7. India’s business community, especially the small business has been proactive. Starting from almost nothing, they made us the second largest PPE kits manufacturer in the World.
  8. The expenditure on the health sector in India is around 1.3% only whereas countries like Canada and Australia spent 8% and 6.3% of their GDP.
  9. The doctor to patient ratio in India is 1: 1456.
  10. India meets 53 per cent of its milk and 74 per cent of meat requirement from animals reared by pastoralists. While the Union government has no data on the community, a new report has pegged their number in the country at 13 million — nearly one per cent of the population. 
  11. According to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report, the number of undernourished people in India has declined by 60 million, from 21.7%of the population in 2004-06 to 14% in 2017-19, according to a UN report.
  12. FAO observed that the Asia-Pacific region is home to more than half of the world’s undernourished and with Covid-19, the number of hungry people in Southern Asia is projected to rise by nearly a third to 330 million by 2030.
  13. Currently there are eight lakhs registered AYUSH doctors in India. Of these, 56% of doctors belong to Ayurveda, 6.4% to Unani, and 1.4% to Siddha and Naturopathy.
  14. Arsenic-affected habitations in India up 145% in last 5 yrs. Most of the arsenic-affected habitations lie in the Ganga and Brahmaputra alluvial plains; in the states of Assam, Bihar, UP and Bengal. Assam had the highest share of such habitations, followed by Bengal. 
  15. However, the number of fluorides affected habitations has significantly come down in the last five years.
  16. A total of 163 million people in India have no access to clean water close to home, or 15% of all rural residents and seven per cent of all urban residents according to an analysis by WaterAid, 2019.
  17. Suicide was the leading cause of death in India in 2016 for those aged 15–39 years; 71.2% of the suicide deaths among women and 57.7% among men were in this age group.
  18. Approximately 540,000 deaths each year can be attributed to intake of industrially produced trans fatty acids and in India the figure reaches to 60,000 number.
  19. India has set targets to reduce the industrially produced trans-fat to less than 2% by the year 2022 in a phased manner, a year ahead of the WHO target. Currently, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) limits trans-fat content in fats and oils to 5 per cent.
  20. The number of global under-five deaths had dropped to its lowest on record in 2019: To 5.2 million from 12.5 million in 1990, according to new mortality estimates released by UNICEF, the WHO, the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the World Bank Group.
  21. As per the World Health Organisation (WHO)mental health workforces in India (per 1,00,000 population) include psychiatrists (0.3), nurses (0.12), psychologists (0.07) and social workers (0.07).
  22. As per WHO global health report 2019, out of every four persons, one person will have some mental problem at a given point of time in their lives. Mental illness is among the leading causes of disability and ill- health in the world.
  23. As per the latest data presented in the Lok Sabha in September 2020, a total of 5,485 habitations across 17 states are affected by fluoride contamination in drinking water across India. According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, the desirable limit of fluoride is 1 part per million or 1 milligram per litre. Nearly 54% of these affected habitations are in Rajasthan (2,956). The number of suspected cases of Fluorosis reported across states shows that Karnataka accounts for nearly 60% of the dental fluorosis cases at the community level in India. It also accounts for more 72% of the skeletal fluorosis cases reported at the community level and 77% of the dental fluorosis cases at the school level across the country.
  24. India has 158.8 million children under 6 years but ICDS covers only 71.9 million children.
  25. According to the State of the Young Child in India Report said that in India, Rs 1723 per child is spent on education, nutrition, the health of children in 2018-19 but it is insufficient. Out of the 159 million children aged below 6 years in India, 21% are undernourished, 36% are underweight and 38% do not receive full immunisation.
  26. Every second child in India is already malnourished, suggests the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS) of 2015-16. It means roughly 77 million children — which is the combined population of Jharkhand, Telangana and Kerala — are undernourished in the country.
  27. According to the Lancet Survey, India ranked the highest among countries where people believed vaccines to be effective, with 84.26 per cent believing so in 2019.

Education

  1. According to the recently released UN Report on the Impact of Covid-19 on Children, almost 24 million children could drop out or not have access to school next year due to the economic impact of Covid-19.
  2. According to the NSO report on Education, nearly 4% of rural households and 23% of urban households possessed computers and 24% of the households in the country had internet access.
  3. As per UNESCO, India will achieve universal literacy by 2060.
  4. Nearly 45 per cent of the funds allocated to the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme in FY 2019-20 had not been utilized.
  5. The literacy rate of Scheduled Tribes (STs) improved to at 69.4 per cent in 2018-19, from 67.7 per cent in 2017-18 according to the Periodic Labour Force Survey 2018-19 report. This was against 78.1 per cent at an all India level in 2018-19 and 76.9 per cent the previous year.
  6. According to the National Statistical Organization’s (NSO) report on Education, one in five students in India supplements school education with private coaching, including almost one in three at the secondary school level or Classes 9 and 10.

Human Capital Index 2020

  1. 80 million children are missing out on essential vaccinations.
  2. One billion children, have been out of school due to Covid-19.

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)

  1. There is nearly one NGO for every 400 people in India.
  2. A report by India’s Intelligence Bureau accused NGOs such as Greenpeace, Cordaid, Amnesty, and Action Aid for reducing India’s GDP by 2-3% per year.
  3. As of now, there are 22,457 NGOs or associations registered under the FCRA, while the licenses of 20,674 were cancelled and 6,702 are deemed to have expired.

Economic Development

  1. The value of assets applying Environment, Social responsibility and Corporate governance (ESG) fund to investment decisions today is $40.5 trillion.
  2. The pharmaceutical industry in India is third largest in the world, in terms of volume, behind China and Italy, and fourteenth largest in terms of value. It has a strong network of 3,000 drug companies and about 10,500 manufacturing units with a domestic turnover of Rs 1.4 lakh crore (USD 20.03 billion) in 2019, with exports to more than 200 countries in the world.
  3. India handles around 25% share of the world’s ship recycling industry. The government plans to nearly double this by 2024.
  4. If India has to grow 8-10% continuously, credit growth for infrastructure must be 12-14%.
  5. According to Census 2011 tells us that 71 per cent of households with three or more members have dwellings with two rooms or less i.e. 74 per cent in rural and 64 per cent in urban areas.
  6. FDI into India rose by 20 percent in 2019, when the global FDI inflows fell by 1 Percent and that this shows the success of our FDI regime.
  7. Currently, roughly 2 GW of coal-based generation is being decommissioned per year, which implies that by 2030, India will have only 184 GW of coal-based generation.
  8. Though India ranked among the top 10 global destinations for FDI in 2019, the inflows have remained at less than 2% of GDP.
  9. According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), in 2019, India ranked 42 out of 152 countries, with manufacturing value added (MVA constant 2015 US$) totalling $430.25 billion, or equal to 15.5 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP).
  10. In 2011, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry introduced the National Manufacturing Policy (NMP). Its main objective was to enhance the share of the manufacturing sector in GDP from 16 per cent to 25 per cent by 2022, create 100 million jobs and support required skills development programmes.
  11. National Policy on Electronics (NPE) targets $400 billion worth of electronics manufacturing outcome for India by 2025.
  12. Globally, the World Food Programme predicts that the number of people facing acute food insecurity around the world will almost double to 270 million, including 121 million new food insecure due to Covid-19.
  13. The share of India in world trade of plastics is very low. India’s share in the USD 1 trillion global plastic exports market is about 1%.
  14. India’s Rural economy contributes to 50 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, also accounting for 50 per cent of the workforce. About 75 per cent of new factories built in the past three decades has come up in rural areas, which accounts for 75 per cent of all new manufacturing jobs. 
  15. According to a report by research organisation Climate Research Horizon, shutting down thermal power plants older than 20 years can save the government Rs. 53,000 cr. over five years. India mainly uses three types of thermal power plants- Coal, Gas and Liquid-fuel based. The electricity generated by these plants adds up to 62.2% of the total power generation in the country.

Tourism / Employment / Textile Sector

  1. As per the data of the UNWTO, about 100 to 120 million jobs in the tourism industry are at risk directly due to COVID-19.
  2. The Tourism Industry’s contribution to India’s Gross Domestic Productin 2019 stood at 9.3%, and is said to account for over 8% of the total employment.
  3. In 2019, foreign tourist arrivals in India stood at 10.89 million, achieving a yearly growth rate of 3.20% from 2018, earning USD 29.90 billion in foreign exchange earnings.
  4. The Periodic Labour Force Survey observes that 71% of regular wage/salaried workers in the non-agriculture sector did not have a written contract, and 50% were without social security cover.
  5. About three-fourths of workers in the textiles sector are women and 70 per cent of the beneficiaries of the Mudra loan are women.
  6. The Textile sector accounts for 7% of India’s manufacturing output, 2% of GDP, 12% of exports and employs directly and indirectly about 10 crore people.
  7. According to the International Labour Organization, of the 535 million labour force in India in 2019, some 398.6 million have poor quality jobs.
  8. As per the 2018-19 annual report of the Department of Personnel and Training (accessed online on August 28, 2020), OBC representation is 13.01% in group-A central government services, 14.78% in group-B, 22.65% in group-C (excluding safai karmacharis) and 14.46% in group-C (safai karmacharis).
  9. According to an RTI-based report, there was not a single professor and associate professor appointed under the OBC quota in central universities. The data showed that 95.2% of the professors, 92.9% of associate professors and 66.27% of assistant professors were from the general category (which may also include SCs, STs and OBCs who had not availed the quota). At assistant professor level, representation of OBCs was just 14.38%.
  10. Rajasthan created the highest number of person days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) during 2019-20.
  11. There had been an increase of 52.11 per cent in total employment generation under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act from April-August 2020, compared to the same period last year.
  12. The tourism sector is a significant contributor to Jammu and Kashmir’s economy and accounts for around seven per cent of the region’s gross domestic product, according to Jammu and Kashmir government’s estimates.
  13. Some 18.9 million salaried jobs have been lost in the country during April-July 2020, according to the recent report of Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.
  14. According to International Labour Organization data, 72 per cent domestic workers lost their jobs by June because of COVID-19.

Digital Banking

  1. Nearly 4cr active customers on mobile and internet banking with 140% increase in financial transactions through mobile and internet banking channels and almost 50% of financial transactions through digital channels.
  2. The retail market/e-commerce in India is expected to grow to USD 1.2 trillion by 2021.

Startup-Ecosystem – Employment

  1. India has about 50,000 startups in India in 2018; around 8,900 – 9,300 of these are technology led startups 1300 new tech startups were born in 2019 alone implying there are 2-3 tech startups born every day.
  2. Significantly, the number of women entrepreneurs stood at 14%, up from 10% and 11% in the previous two years.
  3. With 21 unicorns, India has emerged as third largest ecosystems for more successful startups right behind China and US but ahead of Britain and Israel, according to Hurun Global Unicorn List 2019.
  4. The startup ecosystem in the country has led to creation of over 4 lakh jobs.
  5. A mid-term review of Start-Up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP) which was conducted in September 2019 by Quality Council of India shows about 82% of the sampled entrepreneurs across the blocks reported being from SC, ST and OBC categories which signifies social inclusion – one of the pillars of NRLM. 75% of the enterprises were owned and managed by women.

MSME

  1. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) contributes around 45% of the overall exports from India.
  2. Union MSME ministry has set a target to up its contribution to GDP to 50% by 2025 as India becomes a $5 trillion economy.
  3. It provides employment to around 120 million persons in India.

Agriculture / Farming / Livestock

  1. India is the world’s largest producer of sugar, cotton and pulses. The country is also the second-biggest producer of wheat and rice.
  2. The India’s agriculture sector already consumed over 83 per cent of the available water resources, according to the Central Water Commission.
  3. Farming makes up about 15% of the $2.5 trillion economies and employs more than half of the country’s 1.3 billion people. 
  4. In 2018, over 10,000 farmers committed suicide in the country – this comes to more than one farmer or farm worker every hour.
  5. Over 50 per cent of farm households in the India are in debt.
  6. India has about 169.6 million hectares of the cultivated It is the largest in the world.
  7. Periodic Labour Force Survey Report (2018-19) indicates that 70% of regular wage/salaried employees in the non-agricultural sector did not have a written contract, and 52% did not have any social security benefit.
  8. In India, 70% of the farms rely on groundwater, which depletes reserves.
  9. India uses the most groundwater in the world, extracting 253 bcm (billion cubic metres) per year. This is approximately 25% of the global groundwater extraction.
  10. As per official data, 90% of groundwater is used for irrigation and 10% by domestic
    and industrial consumers. Excluding agriculture sector is bigger concern.
  11. If all of India’s paddy area — 43-44 million ha — is brought under zero-budget natural farming (ZBNF), 150-400 billion cubic metre of water can potentially be saved.
  12. Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) can avoid the current drawing of groundwater by 50-60 per cent, ensure adequate groundwater reserve, improve water table and reduce financial and labour stress on farmers.
  13. India accounts for one-fourth of the total groundwater extracted globally, more than that of China and US combined and cities and villages in the northern and central parts of India are among regions facing a water crisis, says an analysis by WaterAid.
  14. Cotton is a dryland crop and 65% of the area under cotton in India is rain-fed.
  15. Bttechnology accelerated the adoption of cottonhybrids in India, from 45% in 2002 to 96% in 2017. in 2017, the adoption of Bt cotton in India reached 93%, planted by 7.5 million farmers among the 10 major cotton growing states.
  16. India’s global rank for cotton production is 36 despite heavy fertilizer use, irrigation, chemicals and Bt cotton usage. This is below the national average of some resource­ poor African countries that don’t have Bt, hybrids or good access to inputs.
  17. While Israel recycles nearly 90% of its water, India’s recycling capacity stands at just 30%. The problem is worse at the household level, where not even 5% of the water used is recycled.
  18. Meanwhile, the MSP for few of the coarse grains has increased considerably compared to Rice and Wheat. The two variants of Jowar i.e. Maldandi and Hybrid have increased by around 165% during the 10-year period.
  19. Fish production in India increased by over 18 per cent between 2016-17 and 2018-19.
  20. The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) benefitted around 10.21 crore
  21. India is the fourth-largest producer of pesticides in the world, with the market segmentation tilted mainly towards insecticides, with herbicides on the increase in the recent past. It is reported that eight states consume more than 70% of the pesticides used in India.
  22. According to the Economic Survey 2018-19, the extent of crop diversification has in fact reduced in several states over last two decades.
  23. A national database on land degradation prepared by the Indian Space Research Organisation in 2016 shows that 120.7 million hectare (mha), or 36.7 per cent of India’s total arable and non-arable land, suffers from various forms of degradation with water erosion being its chief contributor in 83 mha (68.4 per cent).
  24. According to New Delhi-based National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), the annual soil loss rate in our country is about 15.35 tonnes per ha, resulting in loss of 5.37 to 8.4 million tonnes of nutrients.
  25. Major rainfed crops in India suffer an annual production loss of 13.4 million tonnes due to water erosion.
  26. Waterlogging, which damages soil by causing salinisation, results in annual loss of 1.2 to 6.0 million tonnes of grain in India.
  27. Of the total 525 districts of the country, about 292 account for 85 per cent of total fertiliser use.
  28. The 54th report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Agriculture (2017-18) says that skewed subsidy policy in favour of urea and high prices of other fertilisers are behind the imbalance in the use of fertilisers in the country. The report also says that the nutrient deficiency in country for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, zinc, boron, molybdenum, iron, manganese and copper was 89 per cent, 80 per cent, 50 per cent, 41 per cent, 49 per cent, 33 per cent, 13 per cent, 12 per cent, 5 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.

Employment & Agriculture

  1. According to the Census 2011, every day 2,000 farmers give up farming.
  2. In 2016, the average age of an Indian farmer was 50.1 years, according to the Input Survey 2011-12 (released in 2016) by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. The average age of a farmer in the US is 58 years, while that of a Japanese farmer is 67 years. Every third European farmer is more than 65 years old.
  3. A majority of students graduating from agricultural universities switch to other professions. Only 1.2 per cent of 30,000 rural youth surveyed by non-profit Pratham for its 2017 Annual Status of Education Report aspired to be farmers. While 18 per cent of the boys preferred to join the army, 12 per cent wanted to become engineers. Similarly, for girls, who play a major role in traditional farming, 25 per cent wanted to be teachers.
  4. The percentage of students in agricultural or veterinary courses around India amounts to less than half a per cent of all undergraduate enrollments.
  5. The percentage of population working in agriculture and related areas has now reduced to about 50 per cent.
  6. In 1970, three-fourths of a rural household’s income came from farm sources. After 45 years, in 2015, it is less than one-third.
  7. Between Census 2001 and Census 2011, the number of Census Towns increased from 1,362 to 3,894. This indicates that people in rural areas are quitting farming or joining non-farm livelihoods.
  8. During 2004-05 and 2011-12, about 34 million farmers moved out of agriculture, shows National Sample Survey Office data. This is 2.04 per cent annual rate of exit from farming. According to NITI Aayog’s estimation, if this trend continues, share of farmers in total workforce would be 55 per cent by 2022, the year the income doubling has to be achieved.

Organic Farming

  1. A mere 2 per cent of India’s net sown area is organically farmed as only 1.3 per cent of the farmers in India are registered to do organic farming, revealed a new report by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
  2. In India, Cultivable land area under organic farming had more than doubled to 29.17 lakh ha in 2020, from 11.83 lakh ha in 2014.

Food Processing

  1. The Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) aims at enhancing fish production by an additional 70 lakh tonne by 2024-25, increasing fisheries export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore by 2024-25, doubling of incomes of fishers and fish farmers, reducing post-harvest losses from 20-25% to about 10% and generation of additional 55 lakhs direct and indirect gainful employment opportunities in fisheries sector and allied activities.

Livestock Resources

  1. According to a report, released by non-profit League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development (LPP), the livestock sector contributes 4.5 per cent to the GDP; the pastoralist sector amounts to around three per cent of the share

Science and Technology

  1. Industry analysts predict that AI could add up to 957 billion USD to India’s economy by 2035.
  2. Eight of the world’s 10 richest companies that grew and expanded lately were technology companies.
  3. According to National Sample Survey data for 2017-18, only 42 percent of urban and 15 percent of rural households had internet access.
  4. India is among the top-12 destinations for biotechnology in the world, with approximately three per cent share in the global biotechnology industry. According to research by Global Market Insights Inc., the global biotechnology market is set to cross $775 billion by 2024. This indicates the immense potential of the segment. India is the third largest biotech destination in the Asia Pacific Region and among the top 12 destinations for biotechnology in the world. Although it’s approximate share in the global biotechnology industry was just around three to five per cent at $51-billion in 2018, it is growing at almost 15 per cent year-on-year. If it continues to grow at this rate, it can expect to cross the $100 billion mark by 2024.

Biodiversity, Environment & Climate Change

  1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says total global emissions will need to fall by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
  2. An ideal blend of 18% hydrogen in CNG can be used as automotive fuel after compression. This can lower emissions and promote green fuel for automobiles in the country. It can also reduce carbon monoxide emission by 70%, according to a study.
  3. Electronic waste (e-waste) generation in India increased by over 43 per cent between 2017-18 and 2019-20, according to the written statement presented by Union minister in the Lok Sabha. E-waste increased to over one million tonnes, from an estimated 0.7 million tonnes in three years.
  4. In the last 70 years, there has been a two hundred-fold increase in the production of virgin plastics, of which only a small portion is recycled and about a third of all plastic wastes end up in nature. Worldwide, the amount of plastic trash that flows into the ocean every year is expected to nearly triple by 2040 to 29 million metric tons.
  5. Scientists have estimated unprecedented consequences of uncontrolled greenhouse gas (GHG) emissionsGreenland and Antarctica’s ice sheets could together contribute more than 15 inches(38 centimetres) of global sea level rise by 2100.
  6. India have reached 21% and in 10 years will achieve the targeting of 35% emission reduction.
  7. 72 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions arising from the energy sector.
  8. Australia and the Caribbean are already in the middle of a ‘second wave’ of mammalian extinctions, a new study has claimed, while predicting that the world would see 558 mammalian extinctions by 2100.
  9. Food systems – which gather all the elements and activities that relate to the production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption of food – account for up to 37 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions
  10. India under the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution has committed to 40% of electricity capacity being from non- fossil fuels by 2030, and lowering the ratio of emissions to GDP by one-third from 2005 levels.
  11. A carbon tax at $35 per tonne of CO2 emissions in India is estimated to be capable of generating some 2% of GDP through 2030.
  12. Northeast India has nearly 58% of total forest, which is nearly 14% of total forest of India, under de facto traditional ownership of local communities.
  13. OECD countries (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) are responsible for one-third of global emissions and their per capita emissions are twice the global average. 
  14. A study in July,2020 found a 42.5% drop in Mumbai’s green cover over 30 years with the ratio of green spaces to total geographical area falling from 46.7% in 1988 to 26.67% in 2018 due to developmental activities. 
  15. Worldwide, the amount of plastic trash that flows into the ocean every year is expected to nearly triple by 2040 to 29 million metric tons.
  16. A joint study report of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF&CC) and World Bank titled “Strengthening Forest Fire Management in India” released in June 2018 revealed that in the year 2000, 20 districts, representing 3% of India’s land area and 16% of forest cover accounted for 44% of all fire detections.
  17. According to India State of Forest Report, 2019, tree and forest cover together made up 24.56% (8,07,276 sq km) of India’s area.
  18. National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) was launched in India to tackle the problem of air pollution in a comprehensive manner with a target to achieve 20 to 30 percent reduction in PM 10 and PM 2.5 concentrations by 2024 keeping 2017 as base year. 
  19. Of the nine greatest threats to the world ranked by the World Economic Forum, six relate to the ongoing destruction of nature.
  20. If every farmer on Earth used the best available farming practices, only half of the total area of cropland would be needed to feed the world.
  21. While bushfires are routine in Australia in the summer months, the scale and intensity of the fires last year was unprecedented. The fires killed thousands of animals and impacted more than 10 million hectares of forest land, which is an area the size of South Korea.
  22. Wildlife populations have fallen by more than two-thirds over the last 50 years, according to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund.
  23. At least 117 people were killed in human-elephant conflicts in 2019-20, up from 85 in 2018-19.
  24. India has the one of lowest per capita GHG emission among the G-20 countries.
  25. China is the world’s biggest polluter and accounts for a quarter of the planet’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. China currently has 135 gigawatts of coal-power capacity either permitted or under construction, according to Global Energy Monitor, a San Francisco-based environmental group. This equates to about half the total coal-power capacity in the United States.
  26. According to World Risk Index (WRI) 2020, India ranked 89th among 181 countries. India was ‘poorly prepared’ to deal with ‘climate reality’, due to which it was more vulnerable to extreme natural disasters.
  27. Human activities emitted 42 billion tonnes of CO in 2019 alone. Under the Paris Agreement, nations committed to reducing emissions by 2030.
  28. The United Nations published a sweeping report in 2019 cautioning that 1 million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species on the planet are at risk of extinction, many within decades, because of human activities.
  29. We have significantly altered 75% of the Earth’s ice-free land – only 25% can still be considered wilderness.
  30. Australia has one of the world’s highest rates of animal extinction, says the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  31. About 20 million tonnes of paddy stubble or paddy crop residue is generated in Punjab annually. Less than 5% is being utilized in Bio-gas.
  32. Coral reefs cover less than 1% of the ocean floor but they are among the most productive and diverse ecosystems on Earth.
  33. Mangroves contribute in absorbing 14% of carbon sequestration by global oceans though they occupy only 1% of the area.

Security: Internal and External

  1. India is one of the top defence hardware purchasers in the world, spending billions of dollars each year according to various estimates.
  2. “India is the third largest spender on defence around the world.
  3. In the past three years, the country witnessed a “staggering” 700% growth in defence
  4. India is the only net importer in the defence category and account for 9.2% of global arms imports”

MAJOR REPORTS AND INDICES

Living Planet Report 2020 (Environment)

Context

  • Global populations* of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish have suffered an average two-thirds decline in less than half a century due in large part to the very same environmental destruction which is contributing to the emergence of zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19, according to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020.

Key Findings

  • The Living Planet Report 2020report drew on wildlife monitoring of more than 4,300 different vertebrate species – mammals, fish, birds and amphibians – from around the world.
  • It found that population sizes for those monitored species declined by an average of 68 percent from 1970 to 2016.
  • The Asia Pacific region lost 45 per cent of its vertebrate population in four-and-half decades, while the global average is 68 per cent.
  • The decline is happening at an unprecedented rate, the report warns, and it threatens human life as well.
  • Forest clearing for agricultural space was the predominant cause of the decline, the report says, noting that one-third of the planet’s land is currently being used for food production.
  • Human-caused climate change is another growing driver.
  • The human enterprise currently demands 1.56 times more than the amount that Earth can regenerate.
  • The report’s authors compared ecosystems’ ability to regenerate with the ever-growing human population and found an ecological imbalance.
  • “Freshwater biodiversity is declining far faster than that in our oceans or forests. Based on available data, we know that almost 90% of global wetlands have been lost since 1700. More than 85% of the area of wetlands has been lost during 1970-2016”.
  • Most of the declines are seen in freshwater amphibians, reptiles and fishes; and they’re recorded across all regions, particularly Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • In addition, an assessment of a sample of thousands of species representing the taxonomic and geographic breadth of global plant diversity showed that one in five (22%) are threatened with extinction, most of them in the tropics.
  • Up to one-fifth of wild species are at risk of extinction this century due to climate change alone, even with significant mitigation efforts, with some of the highest rates of loss anticipated in biodiversity ‘hotspots’.

India and Biodiversity Facts

  • India has 2.4% global land share, about 8% global biodiversity and around 16% global population
  • However, it has lost 12% of its wild mammals, 19% amphibians and 3% birds over the last five decades.
  • India’s ecological footprint per person is less than 1.6 global hectares (gha)/person(smaller than that of many large countries). But its high population size has made the gross footprint significantly high.

Household Social Consumption: Education in India (Education)

Context

  • Recently, the National Statistical Organisation (NSO) released a report ‘Household Social Consumption: Education in India’, as part of the 75th round of National Sample Survey (July 2017 to June 2018).

Key Findings

  • Nearly 4% of rural households and 23% of urban households possessed computers and 24% of the households in the country had internet access.
  • Among persons of age 15-29 years, nearly 24% in rural areas and 56% in urban areas were able to operate a computer.
  • Literacy rate among persons (aged 7 years and above) in India was about 77.7%. In rural areas, the literacy rate was 73.5% compared to 87.7% in urban areas (Report on Literacy Rate).
  • Male literacy rate was higher(84.7%) than female literacy rate (70.3%).
  • Only 7% were graduates or above in rural areas while the percentage was 21.7% in urban areas.
  • Only 38% of rural households have secondary schools within 1 km of the house as compared to 70% for urban households.
  • In rural areas 7%of households and in urban areas, 87.2% of households reported availability of primary school within 1 km from the house.
  • 1% of students were in general education and remaining were in technical/professional education.
  • Gross Attendance Ratio (GAR)at primary level was nearly 100% for both males and females in rural and urban areas.
  • At all-India level nearly 14% students attending formal education received scholarship/ stipend/ reimbursement.
  • 77%of the students studying in Government institutions were receiving free education. Percentage of students studying in private unaided institutions and receiving free education was nearly 2% in rural areas and 1% in urban areas.
  • At pre-primary level nearly 33% students were getting free education in India. At primary level, the proportion of students receiving free education was 62%.
  • Nearly 20% of students attending pre-primary and above level were taking private coaching in India. 20% of Indians above the age of 5 years had basic digital literacy, the national capital has the highest Internet access, with 55% of homes having such facilities.
  • Himachal Pradesh and Kerala are the only other States where more than half of all households have Internet.
  • Odisha is at the bottom with only one in ten homes having Internet.
  • There is less than 20% Internet penetration, even in States with software hubs such as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Even in Odisha, almost 63% of homes in the top urban quintile have Internet facilities.
  • In the poorest quintile of rural Odisha, however, that figure drops to an abysmal 4%.
  • Kerala shows the least inequality with more than 39% of the poorest rural homes having Internet, in comparison to 67% of the richest urban homes.
  • Himachal Pradesh also fares well, with 40% of the lowest rural quintile having Internet.
  • Assam shows the starkest inequality, with almost 80% of the richest urban homes having the Internet access denied to 94% of those in the poorest rural homes in the State.

Health in India Report (Health/ Social Justice/ Issues)

Context

  • Recently, the National Statistical Organisation (NSO) has published the ‘Health in India’

Key Findings

  • Full immunisation programme is not completed among 40% of the children.
  • Across the country, only 59.2% of children under five years are fully immunised.
  • About 97% of children across the country received at least one vaccination — mostly BCG or the first dose of OPV at birth.
  • Only 67% of children are protected against measles. Only 58% got their polio booster dose, while 54% got their DPT booster dose.
  • Manipur followed by Andhra Pradesh and Mizoram recorded the highest rates of full immunisation.
  • Nagaland (12%), followed by Puducherry (34%) and Tripura were the poor performer.

Global Biodiversity Outlook-5 by CBD (Environment)

  • While global deforestation rates have decreased by about a third in the past five year compared with pre-2010 levels, degradation remains
  • More than 60% of the world’s coral reefs are under threat, especially because of overfishing and destructive practices, and a 2015 target to minimise threats was missed.
  • It was also missed in 2020, with the climate crisis, ocean acidification and costal development blamed for their poor state.
  • None of the 20 ‘Aichi Biodiversity Targets’ agreed on by national governments through the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have been met, according to CBD’s Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 report. 

Key Details

  • At the global level, none of the 20 targets have been fully achieved, though six targets have been partially achieved.
  • On average, countries reported that more than a third of all national targets were on track to be met (34 per cent) or exceeded (3 per cent), the CBD report said. For another half of the national targets (51 per cent), progress was being made but not at a rate that would allow targets to be met.
  • Only 11 per cent of national targets show no significant progress and one per cent are moving in the wrong direction. However, national targets are generally poorly aligned with the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, in terms of scope and the level of ambition.

Whatever little progress has been made, has to do with the following:

  • Aichi Biodiversity Target 1 (Creating awareness about the value of biodiversity)
  • Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 (17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, to be effectively and equitably managed)
  • Aichi Biodiversity Target 16 (Access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization)
  • Aichi Biodiversity Target 17 (Creation, adoption and implementation of an effective, participatory and updated national biodiversity strategy and action plan)
  • Aichi Biodiversity Target 19 (Improvement and dissemination of knowledge, the science base and technologies relating to biodiversity).
  • 44% of biodiverse areas are now under protection, an increase from 29% in 2000.
  • Nearly a third of emissions cuts required to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming “well below 2C” could come from nature-based solutions.

Key Recommendations from the Report

  • The report called the restoration of all forests that had been degraded. It also urged restoring local ecosystems.
  • Farmers would have to reduce the use of chemicals and instead focus more on agroecological farming practices, the report said.
  • The report urged people to eat healthier, plant-based food and less meat. It also called for a focus on the problem of food wastage within the supply chain and household.
  • The report called for nature-based solutions to reduce climate change
  • Agricultural and urban ecosystems, as well as wildlife, should be managed in an integrated manner.

‘What India Eats’ (WIE) report (Social Issues/ Health / Governance)

Context

  • Recently, the ‘What India Eats’ (WIE) report of the National Institute of Nutrition was released by the Union Minister for Health.

Key Details

  • The Minister also launched a key initiative by NIN, a study titled ‘Mapping of nutrition and health status — A national level participatory real-time data generation programme’.
  • It aims to develop a mobile based device, used by nutrition researchers, as well as develop food-based strategies through inter-ministerial convergences to promote national programmes for ensuring food and nutrition security.

Key Findings

  • 5% of rural Indians and 18 % of urban populace in the country consume the recommended amount of good quality proteins.
  • While it is recommended that carbohydrates-rich cereals should contribute just 45 % of a day’s energy and the rest must be from other foods, the report says that cereals contribute to 51 % of energy among urban Indians and 65 % among rural Indians.
  • High protein foods such as pulses, legumes contribute just 11 % of daily energy needs, whereas the recommended value is 17 per cent.
  • Also, only 8.8 % rural and 17 % urban Indians consume vegetables in the required quantities, whereas just 8.7 % rural and 14.3 % urban Indians consume the recommended quantity of milk.
  • Junk food like chips, biscuits and chocolates contribute to around 11 % of the energy needs among the rural and urban Indians.
  • While the weight of an ideal or reference Indian man was 60kg in 2010, it has now increased to 65kg. In case of women, it has gone up to 55kg from 50kg a decade ago.
  • Along with this, the earlier height for a reference Indian man was 5.6 feet (171cm) and a woman was 5 feet (152cm). It is now revised to 5.8 feet (177cm) for a man and 5.3 feet (162cm) for a woman. This will now be taken for normal body mass index (BMI).
  • The definition for reference Indian adult man and woman with regard to age was changed to 19-39 years instead of 20-39 years, which was fixed in 2010.
  • Adults in India’s urban centres consumed 51.6 grammes fat per day per head on an average. The volume was 36 g in rural areas.
  • However, 84 per cent of the rural population secured their energy (E) per day requirement from total fats / oils, or visible / added fats. On the other hand, less than 20 per cent of the urban population derived their E / day from this category.
  • In urban areas of the country, northern India had the highest intake of added fat with 45.9 g / day. Southern India reported the lowest per capita consumption of added fat / oils with 22.9 g / day in this segment of population.
  • Among the rural population, 85 per cent consumed less than the recommended level of fat. In the case of urban population, it was just 38 per cent.
  • It found that overall obesity was prevalent in 12.5 per cent of the population in urban areas. But it was highest in north India. Similarly for abdominal obesity, north India reported prevalence in 61.4 per cent population in comparison to national figure of 53.1 per cent among urban population.

Trade and Development Report 2020 

Context

  • Recently, The Trade and Development Report 2020 by UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said that the world economy is experiencing a deep recession amid a still-unchecked pandemic.

Key Findings

  • It said the global economy will contract by an estimated 4.3 per cent this year, leaving global output by year’s end over USD 6 trillion short (in current US dollars) of what economists had expected it to be before the coronavirus began to spread.
  • trade will shrink by around one-fifth this year, foreign direct investment flows by up to 40 per cent and remittances will drop by over USD 100 billion
  • UNCTAD expects South Asia to contract 4.8 per cent in 2020 and recover to 3.9 per cent in 2021.
  • India’s GDP is forecast to contract 5.9 per cent in 2020 and recover to 3.9 per cent next year.
  • The report said that while UNCTAD expects a rebound in India’s GDP growth in 2021 in line with the growth rates of the Indian economy in recent years, “the contraction registered in 2020 is likely to translate into a permanent income loss”.
  • In the US, UNCTAD expects GDP to fall 5.4 per cent in 2020 and recover 2.8 per cent in
  • China is expected to register an economic growth of 1.3 per cent this year and a whopping 8.1 per cent in 2021, the report said, recording the highest economic growth rate in the world.
  • Estimates for the year point to a generalized global recession matching the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Way Forward

  • The report asserted that a global recovery plan must be both bold and comprehensive, built around a coordinated macroeconomic expansion focused on job creation and higher wages and supported by a big public investment push into cleaner energy, environmental protection, sustainable transport systems and the care economy.

Global Subnational River-Borders database (Geography)

  • Rivers make up 23 per cent of international borders, 17 per cent of the world’s state and provincial borders and 12 per cent of all county-level local borders.
  • Nearly half of South America’s borders are made by rivers, the greatest proportion of international borders made like this.
  • North America also has sizable percentages of borders made by rivers (28 per cent), followed by Africa (26 per cent) and Europe (21 per cent).
  • Asia, however, had fewer river borders (16 per cent), compared to other continents as European influence there was limited.

Ecological Threat Register (ETR) (Environment)

  1. Ecological Threat Register (ETR), covers 157 independent states and territories. Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the ETR measures ecological threats that countries are currently facing and provides projections to 2050.

About ETR

  1. The ETR includes: population growth, water stress, food insecurity, droughts, floods, cyclones and rising temperature and sea levels.
  2. The ETR results show that 141 countries are exposed to at least one ecological threat between now and 2050
  3. Approximately one billion people live in countries that do not have the resilience to deal with the ecological changes they are expected to face between now and 2050.
  4. By 2040, a total of 5.4 billion people – more than half of the world’s projected population will live in the 59 countries experiencing high or extreme water stress including India and China.

Levels and Trends in Child Mortality (Social Issues/Governance/ Justice/ Health)

Context

  • Recently, ‘Levels and Trends in Child Mortality’ report is released by the United Nations inter-agency group for child mortality.

Key Findings

  • India’s child mortality rate has declined substantially between 1990 and 2019 but the country still accounted for almost a third of all under-five deaths last year.
  • The report said that the number of global under-five deaths dropped to its lowest point on record in 2019 – down to 5.2 million from 12.5 million in 1990.
  • The regions of Central and Southern Asia and Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand) both saw a faster decline in under-five mortality from 2010-2019 compared to 2000-2009.
  • However, the global burden of under-five deaths weighs most heavily on just two regions – sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Southern Asia.
  • The report said that about 53 per cent of all under-five deaths in 2019 – 2.8 million – occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, and roughly 1.5 million children (28 per cent) died in 2019 before reaching age 5 in Central and Southern Asia.
  • These two regions alone accounted for more than 80 per cent of the 5.2 million global under-five deaths in 2019, but they only accounted for 52 per cent of the global under-five population.
  • Nearly half (49 per cent) of all under-five deaths in 2019 occurred in just five countries: Nigeria, India, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia. Nigeria and India alone account for almost a third.

Findings on India

  • The under-five mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births) in India declined to 34 in 2019 from 126 in 1990.
  • India registered a 4.5 per cent annual rate of reduction in under-five mortality between 1990-2019.
  • The number of under-five deaths in India dropped from 3.4 million in 1990 to 824,000 in 2019.
  • The infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births) in India declined from 89 in 1990 to 28 last year, with the country registering 679000 infant deaths last year, a significant decline from 2.4 million infant deaths in 1990.
  • The country also witnessed a decrease in neonatal mortality rate between 1990 and 2019 from 57 to 22 – 1.5 million neonatal deaths in 1990 to 522,000 deaths in 2019.
  • Further, the probability of dying among children aged 5–14 years declined from 21 in 1990 to 5 in 2019 and the probability of dying among youth aged 15–24 years dipped from 24 to 10 between the period under review.
  • The sex-specific under-five mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births) in India in 1990 stood at 122 males and 131 females and this declined to 34 males and 35 females in 2019.

Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India report 2019 (Social Justice /Governance / Health / Social Issues)

Context

  • Daily wage earners were the largest professional group who died by suicide in 2019, according to the latest report released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

Key Findings

  • India reported 139,123 suicides in 2019, an increase of 3.4 per cent compared to 2018. In other words, 10.4 people committed suicides per 100,000 population. 
  • Daily wage earners accounted for 23.4 per cent of the total suicides. Besides daily wage earners, eight other professional categories were included in the report. 
  • Out of a total 97,613 men who died by suicide, daily wage earners accounted for 29,092.
  • Among women, daily wage earners featured after housewives and students at the top three ranks.
  • Daily wage earners constitute India’s lowest earning population group. Among farmers, many earn more from daily wages than farming. This category also includes farm labourers who take up daily wage jobs during non-farm seasons.
  • Over two-thirds of suicide victims in 2019 earned less than Rs 1,00,000 annually or below Rs 8,333 per month.
  • This comes down to Rs 278 per day, which is sometimes less than the minimum wage rate under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
  • Only 30 per cent of the suicide victims had annual earnings in the range of Rs 1 lakh to less than Rs 5 lakh.

Farmer Suicide

  • In 2019, according to NCRB report, some 10,281 people involved in farming died by suicide in India.
  • Of these, 5,957 were farmers and cultivators, while 4,324 were agricultural labourers. This category accounted for 4 per cent of all suicides in India.
  • Most of those involved in farming who died by suicide were in states usually known for high rate of farmers’ suicide.
  • Surprisingly, landed farmers accounted for 86 per cent of the suicides, while the remaining 14 per cent were landless farmers.
  • For instance, Maharashtra accounted for the highest number of suicide victims from those engaged in farming. The state accounted for 38.2 per cent of the total deaths by suicide among farmers in India.
  • Similarly, Karnataka, another state that reported high farmers’ suicide, accounted for 19.4 per cent of the total deaths by suicide among farmers. This is the second-highest in the country.
  • Andhra Pradesh accounted for 10.0 per cent and Madhya Pradesh 5.3 per cent.
  • West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Delhi, Lakshadweep and Puducherry reported zero suicides of farmers and agricultural labourers.

Accidents in India Snapshots

  • Maximum casualties were reported in age group ‘30 years – below 45 years’ (30.9%) followed by the age group ‘18 years – below 30 years’ (1,09,378 deaths, 0%) during 2019.

Accidents due to Forces of Nature

  • A total of 8,145 deaths in the country were reported due to causes attributable to forces of nature.
  • Out of 8,145 accidental deaths attributable to forces of nature, 3% deaths were reported due to ‘Lightning’, 15.6% deaths due to ‘Heat/Sun Stroke’ and 11.6% deaths due to ‘Flood’
  • Majority (50.3%) of the victims who died due to accidents caused by forces of nature were reported to be belonging to the age-group of 30-45 years (25.3%) and 45-60 years (24.9%) together.
  • Under ‘Lightning’, Bihar (400), Madhya Pradesh (400), Jharkhand (334) and Uttar Pradesh (321) are the biggest victim States.
  • A total of 418 (5.1%) out of total 8,145 deaths due to causes attributable to forces of nature were reported in 53 mega cities.

Traffic Accidents

  • A total of 4,67,171 ‘Traffic Accidents’ were reported during the year comprising 4,37,396 ‘Road Accidents’, 1,788 ‘Railway Crossing Accidents’ and 27,987 ‘Railway Accidents’. These accidents caused injuries to 4,42,996 persons and 1,81,113 deaths.
  • The percentage share of deaths due to ‘Road Accidents’, ‘Railway Accidents’ and ‘Railway Crossing Accidents’ was reported as 85.4%, 13.6% and 1.0% respectively.

Road Accidents

  • During 2019, a total of 4,37,396 cases of ‘Road Accidents.
  • 0% victims of road accidents were riders of ’two wheelers’ followed by trucks / lorries, cars and buses which have accounted for 14.6%, 13.7% and 5.9% respectively of road accidental deaths.
  • Majority (59.6%) of road accidents were due to ‘over speeding’.
  • Dangerous/careless driving or overtaking contributed to 25.7% road accidents.
  • Besides, only 2.6% of road accidents were due to poor weather conditions.
  • 5% and 40.5% of road accidents were reported in rural areas and urban areas respectively.
  • 9% of total road accidents were reported near
    residential areas.

Railway Accidents

  • A total of 27,987 cases of railway accidents were reported during the year 2019.
  • These railways accidents rendered 3,569 persons injured and 24,619 deaths.
  • Majority (76.3%) of railways accident cases were reported under ‘Fall from trains / collision
    with people on track’.
  • Uttar Pradesh has reported the maximum cases of railway crossing accidents accounting for 47.5% of total such accidents.

Global Innovation Index 2020

  • India has been ranked 48th on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2020 among 131 economies, breaking into the top 50 countries for the first time.

Key Findings

  • High-income countries Switzerland, Sweden, the US, the UK and the Netherlands lead the innovation ranking, with a second Asian economy — South Korea — joining the top 10 for the first time.
  • Singapore is ranked at the eighth position.
  • The top-performing economies in the GII are still almost exclusively from the high-income group, with China (14th) remaining the only middle-income economy in the GII top 30, and Malaysia at the 33rd position.
  • The data shows a gradual eastward shift in the locus of innovation as a group of Asian economies — notably China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam — have advanced considerably in the innovation ranking over the years.

India and GII 2020

  • Together with three other economies — China, Vietnam and the Philippines — India has made the most significant progress in the GII innovation ranking over time.
  • Moving up four positions from last year, three ‘clusters’ — Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai — feature in the top 100 science & technology hotspots, further endorsing India’s presence in the global innovation economy.
  • India, on its part, has consistently outperformed on innovation relative to its level of development for 10 years in a row, a record only matched by three other countries.
  • India excels in the innovation outcomes it produces, and also in relation to its innovation efforts and investments.
  • India’s role in the global ICT (information & communication technology) services industry is reflected in it being ranked first in the sector’s exports.
  • It also stands out for its rate of productivity growth, for which it ranks ninth globally.
  • Significantly, India also outperforms in a new GII indicator — global brand value, producing more valuable brands than could be predicted from its income level. It ranks 31st in this indicator.
  • It hosts 164 of the world’s top 5,000 brands, including top brands Tata Group, LIC (insurance) and Infosys. 
  • The GII by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ranks global economies according to their innovation capabilities, including roughly 80 indicators, grouped into innovation inputs and outputs.

Science & Technology Indicators (STI) report 2019-20

Context

  • According to the latest Science & Technology Indicators (STI) reportfor 2019-20, India performs very dismally in the field science & technology innovation.
  • The STI report is released by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Key Findings

  • Between 2005-06 and 2017-18, a total of 5,10,000 patent applications were filed in India.
  • In these 13 years, just 24% of patent claims came from Indians.
  • According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO),India stands at the 7th position on number of patents filed.
  • Of the women involved in the R&D domain, the share of involvement was three-fourth in private R&D companies and less than half in case of government-funded major scientific agencies.
  • Male scientists account for a higher proportion of the total scientists in India’s R&D establishments. The ratio of women to men scientists is the range 1:6 to 1:4.This indicates the inadequate representation of women scientists in the R&D domain.
  • India’s private sector research companies employ a larger proportion of women in core research and development activities than government-funded major scientific agencies.

Medical Devices Sector in India (Economy / Governance / Health/ Social Justice)

  • The medical devices industry in India is valued at USD 5.2 billion, contributing about 4-5% to the USD 96.7 billion Indian healthcare industry.
  • India is one of the top twenty markets for medical devices in the world and is the 4th largest market in Asia after Japan, China, and South Korea.
  • India’s medical devices industry is poised for significant growth in the next five years and the market size is expected to reach USD 50 bn by 2025.
  • India currently imports 80-90% of medical devices and the vast majority of which are unregulated for quality and safety.

CAG Survey Report on School Toilet (Education / Governance)

  • Public sector units claimed to have constructed 1.4 lakh toilets in government schools as part of a Right to Education project, but almost 40% of those surveyed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) were found to be non-existent, partially constructed, or unused. 
  • over 70% did not have running water facilities in the toilets, while 75% were not being maintained
  • There are 10.8 lakh government schools in the country.
  • Overall, more than 1.4 lakh toilets were built by 53 CPSEs, with significant support coming from power, coal and oil companies.
  • 72% of constructed toilets had no running water facilities inside, while 55% had no hand washing facilities at all. 
  • With regard to maintenance and sanitation, 75% of toilets did not follow the norm for daily cleaning at least once a day. 
  • The audit also noticed “cases of defective construction of toilets, non-provision of foundation/ramp/staircase and damaged/overflowed leach pit, which led to ineffective use of toilets.
  • Cases of non-provision of soap, bucket, cleaning agents and disinfectants in toilets and inadequate cleanliness of pathway were also noticed.

National Health Policy, 2017 (Health /Social Justice / Governance)

  • The policy proposes raising public health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of the GDP in a time-bound manner.
  • According to the Health Minister, the 2.5 per cent of GDP spend target for this sector would be met by 2025.
  • Among key targets, the policy intends to increase life expectancy at birth from 67.5 to 70 by 2025 and reduce infant mortality rate to 28 by 2019.
  • It also aims to reduce under five mortality to 23 by the year 2025. Besides, it intends to achieve the global 2020 HIV target.

Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2016-2017 (Social Issues / Governance / Health)

  • 7 per cent of all adults (99.5 million) in India smoke tobacco and 28.6 per cent of all adults (266.8 million) use tobacco (smoked or smokeless tobacco).
  • Among the tobacco smokers, roughly 4.4 per cent are cigarette smokers and 7.7 are bidi smokers.
  • In India, the average monthly expenditure of a daily cigarette smoker comes around to about Rs 1,100 and that of a daily beedi smoker is estimated to be around Rs 284.
  • As per this survey, Maharashtra has the lowest prevalence of tobacco smoking in the country.
  • Further, over 91 per cent of current smokers in the country believe that smoking causes serious illness.
  • The GATS survey was a household survey conducted on over 74,000 people aged 15 years or more.
  • The survey also showed that 68 per cent of smokers, 17 per cent bidi smokers, and 50 per cent of smokeless tobacco users in India purchase loose tobacco.
  • 57 per cent of cigarette smokers (3.46 million approximately) in India (based on data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, India 2009–2010) bought loose cigarettes.