Important Data and Facts for Mains-April 2021


Geography & Resources

  • India has only 4% water share of the world’s fresh rain water resources. 
  • When India became independent, the availability of water was 5,000 litres per capita now it has become 1,100 litres. 
  • Forests provide drinking water to one-third of the world’s largest cities; they also support 80%, 75% and 68% of all amphibian, bird, and mammal species, respectively. 
  • Peatlands store nearly 30% of global soil carbon.
  • There are almost 55,000 glaciers in the HKHK mountains, and they store more freshwater “than any other region outside the North and South Poles”. The glaciers contain estimated ice reserves of 163 cubic kilometres, of which almost 80% feeds the Indus, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra.
  • Seismologists have classified 59% of the land mass of India as prone to earthquakes of different magnitudes – 11% in very high-risk zone V, 18% in high-risk zone IV and 30% moderate risk zone III.
  • Groundwater is a critical resource for food security, accounting for 60% of irrigation supplies in India, but unsustainable consumption of groundwater for irrigation and home use is leading to its depletion.
  • Groundwater depletion in India could result in a reduction in food crops by up to 20% across the country and up to 68% in regions projected to have low future groundwater availability in 2025.

Social Issues

  • Currently, more than six lakh toilets in rural India have acute water shortage.
  • Around 1,20,000 toilets have no water supply and thousands of toilets are completely abandoned, with collapsing roofs, water pipes in poor shape and soggy, broken doors.
  • Tamil Nadu reported the highest number of deaths due to manual scavenging.
  • Gujarat has the highest number of cases where the compensation amount was not paid for deaths due to manual scavenging, followed by Maharashtra.
  • In a time when 104 countries still have laws preventing women from certain types of jobs, and over 600 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not punishable, a gendered approach has to be mainstreamed into broader policy objectives.

Social Justice

Health & Education

  • According to public health experts, one person in every 10 seconds contracts TB, and up to 1,400 people in India die every day of the disease. 
  • According to the Indian Society for Clinical Research, there are 7,000 known rare diseases that have affected 300 million people across the globe. Of them, 70 million are in India, and most have no or very limited treatment options.
  • Society president Chirag Trivedi said one in 20 persons would live with a rare disease at some point in life. 
  • More than 60 per cent of the population cannot afford private healthcare.
  • Antimicrobial resistance is responsible for up to 7,00,000 deaths a year. Unless urgent measures are taken to address this threat, we could soon face an unprecedented health and economic crisis of 10 million annual deaths and costs of up to $100 trillion by 2050.
  • 7 million people worldwide die annually because they cannot access drugs for infections that are treatable.
  • One estimate found that improvements to the infrastructure required for and access to clean water, adequate sanitation and quality hygiene in India could result in a reduction of 590 million diarrheal cases by 2020 that would have been treated with antibiotics.
  • The African continent shares over 94% of the global malaria death burden.
  • A WHO survey has found that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93 per cent of countries worldwide while the demand for them is increasing.
  • Today, approximately 6% of the world’s population – more than 420 million people – live with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The number of people with diabetes has quadrupled in the last 40 years.  It is the only major noncommunicable disease for which the risk of dying early is going up, rather than down. About half of all adults with type 2 diabetes remain undiagnosed and 50 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes don’t get the insulin they need.
  • A report published in The Lancet Psychiatryin February 2020 indicates that in 2017, there were 3 million people with mental disorders in India. The contribution of mental disorders to the total Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in India increased from 2.5% in 1990 to 4.7% in 2017.
  • If the children celebrate their first birthday and are among the luckiest to live beyond 1,000 days (or two years and seven months), they are likely to be stunted or wasted, according to the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-20).
  • Nearly 40 per cent of the food produced in India is wasted every year due to fragmented food systems and inefficient supply chains — a figure estimated by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
  • As per the Food Waste Index Report 2021, a staggering 50 kg of food is thrown away per person every year in Indian homes.
  • There are 7,000-8,000 classified rare diseases, but less than 5% have therapies available to treat them. About 95% rare diseases have no approved treatment and less than 1 in 10 patients receive disease-specific treatment. These diseases have differing definitions in various countries and range from those that are prevalent in 1 in 10,000 of the population to 6 per 10,000.

Women Related

  • According to the UNDP’s latest report for Gender Inequality, on an average, women spend 2.4 more hours per day than men on unpaid care and domestic work.
  • According to the AISHE Report 2019, the female students constituted almost half (48.6%) of the total enrolment in higher education but the participation of women in the labour force stands as low as 18.6%.

Polity, Constitution and Governance

  • The judge-population ratio in the country which stands at only20 judges per million people.
  • For a country as populous as 135 million, the total strength of judges is only around 25000.
  • Data from the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) show that Lok Adalats organised across the country from 2016 to 2020 disposed of 52,46,415 cases. Similarly, National Lok Adalats (NLAs) organised under the aegis of NALSA settle a huge number of cases across the country in a single day. For instance, NLAs conducted on February 8, 2020, disposed of 11,99,575 cases. From 2016 to 2020, NLAs have disposed of a total of 2,93,19,675 cases.
  • Within the 156 countries covered, women hold only 26 per cent of parliamentary seats and 22 per cent of ministerial positions. India in some ways reflects this widening gap, where the number of ministers declined from 23.1 per cent in 2019 to 9.1 per cent in 2021. The number of women in Parliament stands low at 14.4 per cent.
  • In the 1950s, central ordinances were issued at an average of 7.1 per year. The number peaked in the 1990s at 19.6 per year, and declined to 7.9 per year in the 2010s. The last couple of years has seen a spike, 16 in 2019, 15 in 2020, and four till now this year.
  • According to the data available with the National Judicial Data Grid, around 3.81 crore cases are pending in various district and taluka courts in India and more than one lakh cases have been pending for more than 30 years.
  • As per the National Judicial Data Grid, 16.9% of all cases in district and taluka courts are three to five years old; for High Courts, 20.4% of all cases are five to 10 years old, and over 17% are 10-20 years old. Furthermore, over 66,000 cases are pending before the Supreme Court, over 57 lakh cases before various HCs, and over 3 crore cases are pending before various district and subordinate courts.
  • Economic Survey 2018-19 showed, because clearing pending cases by 2024 would need going beyond merely meeting the sanctioned strength in lower courts, already nearly 20% short of the sanctioned number of judges.
  • It would take 320 years to clear the backlog of 31.28 million cases, and every judge in the country would have an average load of about 2,147 cases according to Justice V V Rao who delivered a speech on E-governance in the judiciary.
  • If the norm of 50 judicial officers per million becomes reality by 2030 when the country’s population would be 1.5 to 1.7 billion, the number of judges would go upto 1.25 lakh dealing with 300 million case.
  • Out of 6,318 candidates contesting in Assembly elections in four states and a UT, 18 % have declared criminal cases against themselves, according to a report by poll rights group ADR (Association for Democratic Reforms).
  • Only 11% of women are in judiciary.
  • The women lawyers said out of 25 High Courts in the country, only one has a woman Chief Justice.
  • Only 73 out of 661 High Court judges — roughly 11.04 per cent — are women.
  • In five High Courts — Manipur, Meghalaya, Patna, Tripura and Uttarakhand — there is not even a single woman judge.
  • There are reports suggesting that 29 per cent of respondents trust police, 55 per cent believe they are corrupt and custodial deaths are a concern which needs to be dealt with.
  • Police Population Ratio Update; India Has One Cop for Every Citizens 640, Five Lakh Posts Vacant in Police Forces | 3 policemen on the security of a VIP, but only one on 640 people in a country with a population of 135 crores
  • Now, nearly 2.5 lakh local governments and over 3.4 million elected representatives form the real democratic base of the Indian federal polity. 

International Relations

India and Japan

  • What is likely to have spurred Japan to eye India as a partner for the SCRI?
  • Japan is the fourth-largest investor in India with cumulative foreign direct investments touching $33.5 billion in the 2000-2020 period accounting for 7.2% of inflows in that period, according to quasi-government agency India Invest.
  • Imports from Japan into India more than doubled over 12 years to $12.8 billion in FY19. Exports from India to the world’s third-largest economy stood at $4.9 billion that year, data from the agency showed.

India and UK

  • The UK has the world’s fifth largest defence budget highest in Europe and second highest in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
  • It is also the second-largest defence exporter in the world.
  • UK being India’s second largest partnerin research and innovation alliances.

India & Canada

  • Canada is the world’s fourth-largest oil and gas producer.

China & Arab States

  • China’s trade with Arab States reaching $240 billion last year, establishing it as the region’s largest trading partner and a major buyer of crude oil that counts on the region for half of its imports.

India & Pakistan

  • Pakistan is the fifth-largest exporter of cotton globally, and the cotton-related products (raw and value-added) earn close to half of the country’s foreign exchange.

India & European Union

  • The EU is the largest provider of development assistance to the ASEAN region, and has committed millions of euros to various environmental programs.

Southeast Asia

  • Southeast Asia is one of the few areas of the world where coal usage has increased in the past decade. In 2019, the region consumed around 332 million tons of coal, nearly double the consumption from a decade earlier, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Of that, Indonesia accounted for 42% and Vietnam nearly a third. In 2019, the region’s imports of thermal coal rose by 19% compared with the previous year, according to an IEA report.
  • Southeast Asia’s energy demand is projected to grow 60% by 2040. This will contribute to a two-thirds rise in CO2 emissions to almost 2.4 gigatons, according to the Southeast Asia Energy Outlook 2019.
  • According to the International Energy Agency, Southeast Asia and Europe each accounted for around 11% of the world’s thermal coal imports in 2019.

South East Asia

  • The shares of India in the total land area, population, and real GDP of South Asia in 2016 are 62%, 75%, and 83%, respectively.


  • According to a study published in November in the journal of Energy and Climate Change, coal-fired energy will overtake natural gas as the main power source in the ASEAN region by 2030. And by 2040 it could account for almost 50% of the region’s projected CO2 emissions.
  • Five ASEAN states were among the fifteen countries most affected by climate change between 1999–2018, according to the Climate Risk Index 2020.


  • Cotton is the third largest crop cultivated in India after paddy and wheat with 75% of it grown by small landholding farmers who struggle with uncertainty in yield and income. 
  • The Deloitte study found that 57% of the Indian respondents surveyed between November 2020 and March 2021 thought their career was not progressing as fast as expected, compared to 42% globally. Fewer Indian women saw their employer as supportive of women than their global counterparts. A lot of this has to do with working culture than remuneration; while 30% of Indian women said their employer provided higher financial support as compared to 22% of respondents globally, markedly lower proportions of the former felt their employer allowed greater flexibility in work and contributed to maintaining work-life balance with clear boundaries on working hours.
  • With 78% of the India respondents claiming that they have had to shoulder a higher burden of chores and household management versus 66% of female respondents globally, the pressure on women’s professional lives is quite telling.
  • India has 18% of the world’s human population and 18% of the cattle population of the world.
  • In India, Agriculture was consuming nearly 85% of the water.
  • 16% of fruits and vegetables and up to 10% of cereals, oil seeds and pulses are wasted in the country due to inadequate post-harvest infrastructure.
  • India imports 85% of its oil needs and is often vulnerable to global supply and price shocks.
  • India is the world’s third-largest consumer of oil.
  • The Middle East accounts for 60% of all oil bought by India while Latin America and Africa are the other big supplier blocks.
  • India is the second-largest producer of wheat in the world, with over 30 million hectares in the country dedicated to producing this crop. 
  • Latest available NSSO data show that manufacturing-based micro enterprises constitute 99.7 per cent of the MSMEs while supporting 97.5 per cent of employees. The micro units account for 90.1 per cent of the MSME output and 91.9 per cent of income. 
  • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)closed its business at Rs. 6.57 lakh crore in FY 2020-21, recording a growth rate of 23.5%.
  • According to an analysis by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), green hydrogen demand could be up to 1 million tonnes in India across application in sectors such as ammonia, steel, methanol, transport and energy storage.
  • Currently, India consumes around 5.5 million tonnes of hydrogen, primarily produced from imported fossil fuels.
  • According to ILO and various other estimates, some 90 per cent of young people have “reported increased mental anxiety during the pandemic” while “one in six young people worldwide have lost their jobs during the pandemic”.


  • There are over 41,000 startups in the country and 44 per cent of these ventures are officially recognized.
  • More than 5,700 startups are in Information Technology (IT), around 3,600 in healthcare and over 1,700 in agriculture.


  • Microfinance sector is serving around 102 million accounts (including banks and small finance banks) of poor population of India.
  • As per the Bharat Microfinance Report 2020, MFIs operate in 28 States, 5 Union Territories and 593 districts in India with branch network of 19,073 and 1.52 lakh employees.


  • India produces 10% of the world’s cropsand is now the world’s largest consumer of groundwater, and aquifers are rapidly becoming depleted across much of India.
  • According to Central Ground Water Board, 13% of the villages in which farmers plant a winter crop are located in critically water-depleted regions. These villages may lose 68% of their cropped area in future if access to all groundwater irrigation is lost. 
  • As per the international survey report (2021) India ranks at 5th place in terms of area registered under organic certification and is at the top in terms of total number of producers (base year 2019).
  • More than 300,000 farmers have committed suicide in the last 30 years, a phenomenon completely unprecedented in Indian history. 
  • 86% of India’s farmers are ‘small and marginal’.
  • Around 90% of India’s water is consumed in farming, and of this, 80% is used up by rice, wheat and sugarcane.
  • Only 17% of farm produce passes through 


  • Frozen shrimp is India’s largest exported seafood item. It constituted 50.58% in quantity and 73.2% in terms of total U.S. dollar earnings from the sector during 2019-20.
  • Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are India’s major shrimp producing States, and around 95% of the cultured shrimp produce is exported.
  • India exported frozen shrimp worth almost $5 billion in 2019-20, with the U.S. and China its the biggest buyers.

Science and Technology

  • China has a $53-trillion mobile payments market and it is the global leader in the online transaction’s arena, controlling over 50% of the global market value. India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) volume is expected to cross $1 trillion by 2025.
  • The U.S., in contrast, lags behind, with only around 30% of consumers using digital means and with the total volume of mobile payments less than $100 billion

Environment and Biodiversity

  • India will soon join 15 other countries in the hydrogen club as it prepares to launch the National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHEM). The global target is to produce 1.45 million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2023. Currently, India consumes around 5.5 million tonnes of hydrogen, primarily produced from imported fossil fuels.
  • In 2030, according to an analysis by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), green hydrogen demand could be up to 1 million tonnes in India across application in sectors such as ammonia, steel, methanol, transport and energy storage.
  • 90% of the potential biodiversity benefits could be realised by strategically safeguarding 21% of the world’s oceans – 43% of EEZs and 6% of the high seas. The estimate is that such an expansion of area would raise protection for endangered and critically endangered species from the current 1.5% and 1.1% of their ranges to a staggering 82% and 87% respectively.
  • 54% percent of the world’s terrestrial surface consists of rangelands, which are home to some of the earth’s most precious habitats and support the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people.
  • Just 10 percent of national climate plans (as part of the Paris Climate Agreement) include references to rangelands; comparatively 70 percent include references to forests.
  • More than 1 in 4 children under the age of five – or 1.7 million children – lose their lives every year as a result of avoidable environmental impacts.
  • Restoration and other natural solutions can deliver one third of the mitigation needed by 2030 to keep global warming below 2C while also helping societies and economies adapt to climate change.
  • Restoring 15% of converted lands in the right places could prevent 60% of projected species extinctions.
  • In 2020-21, of the total expenditure spent on MGNREGA, about two-thirds were on works related to natural resource management (NRM).
  • India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the 2015 Paris Agreement refers to the country’s commitment to generate an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3.0 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2030. 
  • Ecosystem restoration contributes to the achievement of all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals by their 2030 target date, including the elimination of poverty and hunger.
  • Half of the world’s GDP is dependent on nature and every dollar invested in restoration creates up to 30 dollars in economic benefits.
  • Coral reef ecosystems cover just 0.1 per cent of the ocean, yet they support 25 per cent of its life and the lives of half a billion people on land.
  • Maharashtra has been the biggest contributor to biomedical waste including Uttar Pradesh and Delhi among the top 10 waste generators.
  • The US pledged to cut emissions by 50 to 52 per cent of its 2005 levels by 2030. 
  • India’s per capita carbon footprint is 60% lower than the global average
  • The ocean absorbs around 23% of the annual emissions of anthropogenic CO2 to the atmosphere, helping to alleviate the impacts of climate change but at a high ecological cost to the ocean.
  • Carbon dioxide currently accounts for 88 per cent of India’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including land-use change emissions.
  • India would need to generate at least 83 per cent of its electricity from (non-hydropower) renewable energy sources by 2050, if it were to commit to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century.

Disaster Management

  • Around 9.8 million people were displaced due to such disasters during the first half of 2020 and most of them were in South and South-East Asia and the Horn of Africa, confirmed the World Meteorological Organisation in its flagship State of the Global Climate report.
  • India recorded 82,170 forest fire alerts from April 1-14, 2021 nearly double the number reported during the same period past year, according to Global Forest Watch (GFW), an open-source monitoring application.


  • Between 2018 and 2020, Chhattisgarh has accounted for 45% of all incidents in the country and 70% of security personnel deaths in such incidents.


Global Forest Goals Report 2021


  • Recently, Global Forest Goals Report 2021 has been released by Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations.

Key Highlights

  • The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has aggravated the challenges faced by countries in managing their forests.
  • The report, draws upon 52 voluntary national reports and 19 voluntary national contributions, representing 75 per cent of forests in the world.
  • It provides an initial overview of progress towards achieving the six Global Forest Goals and their 26 associated targets as contained within the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2030.
  • The United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 was created with a mission to promote sustainable forest management and enhance the contribution of forests and trees to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
    • More than just a health crisis, Covid-19 is driving losses of lives and livelihoods, extreme poverty, inequality, and food insecurity, and it has put the ‘Future We Want’ further out of reach.
    • It is estimated that world gross product fell by an estimated 4.3% in 2020. It is the sharpest contraction of global output since the Great Depression.
    • An estimated 1.6 billion people, or 25% of the global population, rely on forests for their subsistence needs, livelihoods, employment, and income.
    • Of the extreme poor in rural areas, 40% live in forest and savannah areas, and approximately 20% of the global population, especially women, children, landless farmers, and other vulnerable segments of society look to forests to meet their food and income needs.
    • On the economic front, forest-dependent populations have faced job loss, reduced incomediminished access to markets and information, and for many women and youth, a contraction in seasonal employment.
    • Socially, many of these populations are already marginalized and vulnerable groups, such as indigenous peoples, least able to access critical socio-economic safety nets.
    • Many forest dependent populations, especially those in remote or hard to reach places, have faced difficulties accessing healthcare or find that government assistance programmes and basic services are disrupted.
    • Pandemic driven health and socio-economic outcomes have increased pressure on forests.
    • To ease their growing vulnerability, many indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as returning migrants and urban workers, have retreated deeper into the woods to seek food, fuel, shelter, and protection from the risks of Covid-19.
    • Among its many findings, the ‘Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) highlighted those one million species were at risk of extinction and that 100 million hectares of tropical forest were lost from 1980 to 2000.


  • The report called for a future course of action that included greater sustainability and a greener and more inclusive economy to tackle the threats of COVID-19, climate change and the biodiversity crisis faced by forests.

World Military Spending, 2020


  • Recently, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has released military expenditure and arms trade globally report for the year 2020.

Global Scenario

  • Military spending as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP),reached a global average of4% in 2020, up from 2.2% in 2019.
  • The five biggest spenders in 2020, which together accounted for 62% of global military expenditure were: the United States>China>India>Russia>the United Kingdom.
  • Nearly all members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) saw their military burden rise in 2020.
  • The countries with the biggest increases in military burden among the top 15 spenders in 2020 were Saudi Arabia, Russia, Israel and US.
  • The United States’ military spending was 3.7 per cent of its GDP while the corresponding numbers for China is at 1.7 per cent.

Regional Scenario

  • China, India(USD 72.9 billion), Japan (USD 49.1 billion), South Korea (USD 45.7 billion) and Australia (USD 27.5 billion) were the largest military spenders in the Asia and Oceania region.
  • Military expenditure in sub-Saharan Africaincreased by 3.4% in 2020 to reach USD 18.5 billion.
  • Military expenditure in South America fell by 2.1%.
  • Military spending across Europe rose by 4.0%in 2020.
  • The combined military spending of the 11 Middle Eastern countries for which SIPRI has spending figures decreased by 6.5% in 2020.

Indian Scenario

  • India was the third largest military spender in the world in 2020, behind only the US and China.
  • India’s military expenditure was USD 72.9 billion and it accounted for 3.7% of the global military expenditure share.
  • India’s spending since 2019 grew by 2.1%.
  • India accounted for 9.5% of the total global arms imports during 2016-2020.
  • India’s spending since 2019 grew by 2.1 per cent.
  • India’s military spending of its GDP stands at 2.9 per cent.

State of the Global Climate for 2020


  • Recently, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released its annual State of the Global Climatefor 2020.

Key Highlights of State of the Global Climate 2020

  • Extreme weather combined with COVID-19 in a double blow for millions of people in 2020.
  • 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record, despite a cooling La Niña event.
  • The global average temperature was about 1.2° Celsius above the pre-industrial (1850-1900) level.
  • The six years since 2015 have been the warmest on record. 2011-2020 was the warmest decade on record.
  • In 2020, over 50 million people were doubly hit – by climate-related disasters (floods, droughts and storms) and by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Nearly 690 million people, or 9% of the world population, were undernourished, and about 750 million, or nearly 10%, were exposed to severe levels of food insecurity in 2019.
  • Approximately 9.8 million displacements, largely due to hydrometeorological hazards and disasters, were recorded during the first half of 2020, mainly concentrated in South and South-East Asia and the Horn of Africa.
  • Over the past decade (2010–2019), weather-related events triggered an estimated 23.1 million displacements of people on average each year.
  • One impact of rising CO2 concentration is ocean acidification.
    • The ocean absorbs around 23% of the annual emissions of anthropogenic CO2 to the atmosphere, helping to alleviate the impacts of climate change but at a high ecological cost to the ocean.
    • Around 90% of the excess energy that accumulates in the earth system due to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, goes into the ocean.
    • Ocean Heat Content (OHC) is a measure of this heat accumulation in the Earth system. It is measured at various ocean depths, up to 2000m deep.
  • In 2020, more than 80% of the ocean experienced at least one MHW, causing significant impacts to marine life and the communities that depend on it.
  • Rising global temperatures have contributed to more frequent and severe extreme weather events around the world, including cold and heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires and storms.

The WMO’s State of the Global Climate 2020 report listed five key indicators of irreversible changes in the global climate:

  • Greenhouse Gases: Notwithstanding the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, emission of major greenhouse gases increased in 2019 and 2020.
  • Oceans: In 2019, the oceans had the highest heat content on record. In 2020, it has broken this record further. “Over 80 per cent of the ocean area experienced at least one marine heatwave in 2020.
  • Sea-level rise: Since record-taking started in 1993 using the satellite altimeter, sea-level has been rising. However, there was a blip in summer of 2020 that recorded a drop in sea level. “Sea level has recently been rising at a higher rate partly due to the increased melting of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.”
  • The Arctic and the Antarctica: In 2020, the Arctic sea-ice extent came down to second lowest on record. “The 2020 Arctic sea-ice extent minimum after the summer melt was 3.74 million square kilometre, marking only the second time on record that it shrank to less than 4 million sq km. In a large region of the Siberian Arctic, temperatures in 2020 were more than 3°C above average, with a record temperature of 38°C in the town of Verkhoyansk.

The Big 3

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most commonly addressed greenhouse gas, and its atmospheric concentration is measured by parts per million (ppm). Methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are also extraordinarily important for the global climate and are measured by parts per billion (ppb).

Global Mean Surface Temperature

  • As greenhouse gas concentrations rise, so does global mean surface temperature (GMST). GMST is measured using a combination of air temperature two meters over land, and sea surface temperature in ocean areas from various databases, typically expressed as an anomaly from a baseline period.


National Climate Vulnerability Assessment Report


  • The National climate vulnerability assessment report has been recently released by Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • The report titled ‘Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Adaptation Planning in India Using a Common Framework’, which identifies the most vulnerable states and districts in India with respect to current climate risk and key drivers of vulnerability

Key Details

  • Jharkhand, Mizoram, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, and West Bengal as states highly vulnerable to climate change. These states, mostly in the eastern part of the country, require prioritization of adaptation interventions.
  • Among all states, Assam, Bihar, and Jharkhand have over 60% districts in the category of highly vulnerable districts.
  • Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Sikkim and Punjab have been categorized as lower-middle vulnerable states.
  • Uttarakhand, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Nagaland, Goa and Maharashtra have been categorized as states with low vulnerability.

Utility of the Report

  • The assessments can further be used for India’s reporting on the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. And finally, these assessments will support India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change.
  • The assessments undertaken with the active involvement and participation of States and Union Territory governments and hands-on training and capacity-building exercises have identified vulnerable districts.
  • The assessment will help Policymakers in initiating appropriate climate actions. It will also benefit climate-vulnerable communities across India through development of better-designed climate change adaptation projects.
  • It will help in developing adaptation projects for the Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund and funds from multilateral and bilateral agencies.
  • It will also benefit climate-vulnerable communities across India through development of better-designed climate change adaptation projects.

State of World Population Report 2021


  • Recently, the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA)flagship State of World Population Report 2021 titled ‘My Body is My Own’ was launched.

Key Details

  • This is the first time a UN report has focused on ‘Bodily Autonomy’. The report defines bodily Autonomy as the power and agency to make choices about your body without fear of violence or having someone else decide for you.
  • Some examples of violation of bodily autonomy include:
  • child marriage
  • female genital mutilation
  • lack of contraceptive choices leading to unplanned pregnancy,
  • unwanted sex exchanged for a home and food
  • when people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities cannot walk down a street without fear of assault or humiliation.

Key Findings

  • Nearly half the women from 57 developing countries do not have the right to make decisions regarding their bodies. Decisions including using contraception, seeking healthcare, or even on their sexuality.
  • Only 55% of women are fully empowered to make choices over health care, contraception, and the ability to say yes or no to sex.
  • Only 71% of countries guarantee access to overall maternity care
  • Only 75% of countries legally ensure full, equal access to contraception.
  • Only about 80% of countries have laws supporting sexual health and well-being.
  • Only about 56% of countries have laws and policies supporting comprehensive sexuality education.
  • The lack of bodily autonomymay have worsened during the coronavirus pandemic, placing record numbers of women and girls at risk of gender-based violence and harmful practices such as early marriage.
  • The report also noted that a woman’s power to control her own body is linked to how much control she has in other spheres of her life, with higher autonomy associated with advances in health and education.
  • The report documented several ways through which bodily autonomy of not only women and girls, but also men and boys, is violated, with factors such as disability worsening the situation.
  • It also noted that punitive legal environments, combined with stigma, discrimination and high levels of violence, placed gay men and other men who have sex with men, at high risk of HIV infection.
  • The report also documents many other ways that the bodily autonomy of women, men, girls and boys is violated,revealing that:
    • Twenty countries or territories have “marry-your-rapist” laws, where a man can escape criminal prosecution if he marries the woman or girl he has raped.
    • Forty-three countries have no legislation addressing the issue of marital rape(rape by a spouse).
    • More than 30 countries restrict women’s right to move around outside the home.
    • Girls and boys with disabilities are nearlythree times more likely to be subjected to sexual violence, with girls at the greatest risk.

According to NFHS-4 (2015-2016)

  • Only about 12% of currently married women (15-49 years of age) independently make decisions about their own healthcare
  • 63% decide in consultation with their spouse.
  • For a quarter of women (23%), it is the spouse that mainly takes decisions about healthcare.
  • Only 8% of currently married women (15-49 years) take decisions on the use of contraception independently
  • 83% decide jointly with their spouse. Information provided to women about use of contraception is also limited
  • 47% women using a contraceptive were informed about the side effects of the method
  • 54% women were provided information about other contraceptives.


SRS-based Abridged Life Tables 2014-18 


  • A child born in India April 7, 2021 (World Health Day) will live for at least 69 years and four months, according to the most recent estimates on India’s life expectancy, the SRS-based Abridged Life Tables 2014-18of the Census and Registrar General of India.
  • This is less than the world’s average life span of 72.81 years.

Key Findings

  • A child born in Chhattisgarh today, may live the least and he or she may not live beyond 63 years and seven months.
  • Children in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, if born today, may not survive to celebrate their 66thand 67th birthday respectively.
    • In fact, India topped the chart by recording world’s highest annual average concentration of PM 2.5 exposure in its air in 2019, according to the State of Global Air 2020.
    • In 2020, India was home to 35 of the world’s 50 most polluted cities, according to IQAir’s World Air Quality Report. These included Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr and Delhi among the top 10.
  • Thus, an Indian child will live for 66 years and 8 months only and may not survive to celebrate his / her 67thbirthday beyond April 2089.
  • At least 33 of every 1,000 children born today in India will die before their first birthday — before April 7, 2022 — when the world will celebrate the next World Health Day.
  • Children born in Madhya Pradesh will be the unluckiest. At least 47 (out of every 1,000) will die before turning one year old or in less than 12 months.
  • Parents in two Northeastern states — Assam and Arunachal —will also be very unlucky and will lose their child before he or she turns one year old.
  • In Assam, at least 44 (out of every 1,000) will die before turning one year old or in less than 12 months, followed by Arunachal Pradesh where 42 children (of every 1,000) will not survive beyond April 7, 2022.
  • In Uttar Pradesh, 42 children (of every 1,000) will not survive beyond April 7, 2022 (World Health Day).
  • If the children celebrate their first birthday and are among the luckiest to live beyond 1,000 days (or two years and seven months), they are likely to be stunted or wasted, according to the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-20).
  • Thus, every second of 10 children born today in the country will be stunted by the time he or she is five years old in 2026.
  • In Meghalaya, the growth of nearly half of the children born in villages may be affected. They will hence remain stunted on their fifth birthday.
  • In Bihar, nearly 44 per cent of the children in villages will not be able to grow properly.
  • If a child born today April 7, 2021 in India, survives till 2089 to witness the end of this century, he or she must be ready to adapt to the changing climate which is undoubtedly a threat to public health. This is according to the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences in its assessment of climate change over the Indian region.
  • Temperatures in India could rise by 4.4 degrees Celsius by 2100. Climate change would remain the biggest threat to India’s health and economy. 

World Economic Outlook


  • Recently, the IMF projected an impressive 12.5 per cent growth rate for India in 2021, stronger than that of China, the only major economy to have a positive growth rate last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Findings

  • Indian economy is expected to grow by 6.9 per cent in 2022.
  • Notably in 2020, India’s economy contracted by a record eight per cent, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said as it projected an impressive 12.5 per cent growth rate for the country in 2021.
  • China, on the other hand, which was the only major economy to have a positive growth rate of 2.3 per cent in 2020, is expected to grow by 8.6 per cent in 2021 and 5.6 per cent in 2022.
  • In 2020, the global economy contracted by 3.3 per cent.
  • After an estimated contraction of 3.3 per cent in 2020, the global economy is projected to grow at 6 per cent in 2021, moderating to 4.4 per cent in 2022.
  • Global growth is expected to moderate to 3.3 per cent over the medium term, reflecting projected damage to supply potential and forces that predate the pandemic, including aging-related slower labour force growth in advanced economies and some emerging market economies.

Key Suggestions

  • The emphasis should be on escaping the health crisis by prioritising health care spending, on vaccinations, treatments, and health care infrastructure. Fiscal support should be well targeted to affected households and firms.
  • Monetary policy should remain accommodative (where inflation is well behaved), while pro-actively addressing financial stability risks using macroprudential tools.
  • Once the health crisis is over, policy efforts can focus more on building resilient, inclusive, and greener economies, both to bolster the recovery and to raise potential output.
  • The priorities should include green infrastructure investment to help mitigate climate change, digital infrastructure investment to boost productive capacity and strengthening social assistance to arrest rising inequality.

The Lancet Global Health Journal


  • The failure of the health system to cope with COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an increase in maternal deaths and stillbirths, according to a study published in The Lancet Global Health Journal.
  • The report is an analysis of 40 studies across 17 countries including Brazil, Mexico, the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, India, China and Nepal.

Key Findings

  • There was a 28% increase in the odds of stillbirth, and the risk of mothers dying during pregnancy or childbirth increased by about one-third.
  • There was also a rise in maternal depression. 
  • During the months of national lockdownin 2020 between April and June, compared to the same period in 2019, there was:
  • 27% drop in pregnant women receiving four or more ante-natal check-ups,
  • 28% decline in institutional deliveries
  • 22% decline in prenatal services.

Worsening trend

  • The inefficiency of the healthcare system and their inability to cope with the pandemic instead of strict lockdown measures resulted in reduced access to care.
  • Wider societal changes could have also led to deterioration in maternal health including intimate-partner violence, loss of employment and additional care-responsibilities because of closure of schools.

Key Suggestions

  • Policy makers and healthcare leaders must urgently investigate robust strategies for preserving safe and respectful maternity care, even during the ongoing global emergency.
  • Immediate action is required to avoid rolling back decades of investment in reducing mother and infant mortality in low-resource settings.
  • Personnel for maternity services not be redeployed for other critical and medical care during the pandemic and in response to future health system shocks.

Global Gender Gap Report 2021


  • Recently, World Economic Forum has released Global Gender Gap Report 2021.
  • The report estimates that it will take South Asia 195.4 years to close the gender gap, while Western Europe will take 52.1 years.
  • Iceland is the most gender-equal country in the world for the 12th time.

India’s Scenario

  • India has slipped 28 places to rank 140th among 156 countries.
  • India has closed 62.5% of its gender gap to date. 
  • India’s gender gap on this dimension widened by 3% this year, leading to a 32.6% gap closed to date.
  • India regressed 13.5 percentage points, with a significant decline in the number of women ministers.
  • In the index of education attainment, India has been ranked at 114.
  • But the two indices where India has fared the worst are “Health and Survival”, which includes the sex ratio, and economic participation of women.
  • Further, the estimated earned income of women in India is only one-fifth of men’s, which puts the country among the bottom 10 globally on this indicator.
  • Discrimination against women is also reflected in the health and survival subindex statistics. With 93.7% of this gap closed to date, India ranks among the bottom five countries in this subindex.
  • Wide gaps in sex ratio at birth are due to the high incidence of gender-based sex-selective practices. In addition, more than one in four women has faced intimate violence in her lifetime, the report said.
  • The second-largest gender gap among the four components of the index is for the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex. “Only 58.3 per cent of this gap has been closed so far (globally)
  • The report notes that the economic participation gender gap actually widened in India by 3 percent this year. The share of women in professional and technical roles declined further to 29.2 per cent.
  • The share of women in senior and managerial positions also is at 14.6 per cent and only 8.9 per cent firms in the country have top female managers
  • The estimated earned income of women in India is only one-fifth of men’s, which puts the country among the bottom 10 globally on this indicator
  • But it is in the Health and Survival index that India has fared the worst, ranking at 155 — the only country to have fared worse is China.

India’s neighbourhood

  • In South Asia, only Pakistan and Afghanistan ranked below India.
  • Among India’s neighbours, Bangladesh ranked 65, Nepal 106, Pakistan 153, Afghanistan 156, Bhutan 130 and Sri Lanka 116.
  • Among regions, South Asia is the second-lowest performer on the index, with 62.3% of its overall gender gap closed.
  • Within the region, a wide gulf separates the best-performing country, Bangladesh, which has closed 71.9% of its gender gap so far, from Afghanistan, which has only closed 44.4% of its gap.
  • Because of its large population, India’s performance has a substantial impact on the region’s overall performance.
  • The countries with the largest gender gaps in economic participation include Iran, India, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

India and China

  • While ranking India at 155 — a spot ahead of China — on the health and survival index, the report points to a skewed sex ratio as the major factor.
  • It says the ratio can be attributed to norms of son preference and gender-biased prenatal sex-selective practices.
  • China and India together account for about 90 to 95 per cent of the estimated 1.2 to 1.5 million missing female births annually worldwide due to gender-biased prenatal sex selective practices, it states.

Global Scenario

Political empowerment

  • The gender gap in Political Empowerment remains the largest of the four gaps tracked.
  • Across the 156 countries covered by the index, women represent only 26.1% of some 35,500 parliament seats and just 22.6% of over 3,400 ministers worldwide. 
  • Widening gender gaps in Political Participation have been driven by negative trends in some large countries which have counterbalanced progress in another 98 smaller countries.

Economic Participation and Opportunity

  • The gender gap in Economic Participation and Opportunity remains the second-largest of the four key gaps tracked by the index.
  • The slow progress seen in closing the Economic Participation and Opportunity gap is the result of two opposing trends.
    • On one hand, the proportion of women among skilled professionals continues to increase, as does progress towards wage equality, albeit at a slower pace.
    • On the other hand, overall income disparities are still only part-way towards being bridged and there is a persistent lack of women in leadership positions, with women representing just 27% of all manager positions.
    • One of the most important sources of inequality between men and women is women’s underrepresentation in the labor market. 
  • Globally, considering population-weighted averages, almost 80% of men aged 15–64 is in the labor force versus only 52.6% of women of the same age group, explaining in part why the gender gap in labor force participation remains above 35%.

Educational Attainment

  • In Educational Attainment, 95% of this gender gap has been closed globally, with 37 countries already at parity.

Health and Survival

  • In Health and Survival, 96% of this gender gap has been closed, registering a marginal decline since last year (not due to COVID-19)

Back to basics

About Global Gender Gap Report

  • The report is annually published by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • It benchmarks countries on their progress towards gender parity in four dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival and Political Empowerment.
  • The report aims to serve “as a compass to track progress on relative gaps between women and men on health, education, economy and politics”.

Global Energy Review 2021


  • The International Energy Agency recently released the Global Energy Review report.

Key Details

Indian Scenario

  • According to the report, the Carbon Dioxide emissions in India is to be 1.4% higher than the levels recorded in 2019.
  • The coal-fired power generation is to increase by three times higher than the increase in generation from the renewables.
  • The coal demand is expected to increase by 9%.
  • India has pledged to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 33% to 35% under Paris Agreement. Currently, the carbon dioxide emissions of India is 60% below the global average and is on par with emissions in the European Union, which is 2.35 gigatonnes.

World Scenario

  • The carbon dioxide emissions all over the world is to increase by 1.5 billion tonnes in 2021.
  • China is expected to account for almost half of the global increase in electricity generation from renewables, followed by the US, the European Union and India.
  • China is set to lead the demand in coal by more than 80% in 2021. On the other hand, China will also lead the market for electricity generation from renewables.
  • The demand for coal in US and European will also increase. However, it will remain below the pre-crisis level.
  • The demand for coal and gas is to rise above 2019 levels. However, the demand for oil is to stay below its 2019 peak. This is because, the aviation sector is under high pressure due to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The renewables are set to provide 30% of electricity.
  • The electricity generation from wind is set to grow by 275 tetra watts. This is 17% increase.
  • The solar PV is to increase by 145 tetra watt which is 18% increase as compared to 2020.

Energy Transition Index


  • Recently, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has released the Energy Transition Index, 2021.
  • The latest report is based on a revised ETI methodology that takes into account recent changes in the global energy landscape and the increasing urgency of climate change action.

Key Findings

  • India has been ranked at the 87th position among 115 countries.
  • The top 10 countries in the index are Western and Northern European countries, and Sweden is in the first position followed by Norway (2nd) and Denmark (3rd).
  • Other countries in the top 10 are Switzerland (4), Austria (5), Finland (6), the United Kingdom (7), New Zealand (8), France (9) and Iceland (10).
  • China (68) and India (87), which collectively account for a third of global energy demand, have both made strong improvements over the past decade, despite coal continuing to play a significant role in their energy mix.
  • India has targeted improvements through subsidy reforms and rapidly scaling energy access, with a strong political commitment and regulatory environment for the energy transition.

Back to basics

About Energy Transition Index

  • An annual report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • It prepares the report in collaboration with Accenture.
  • The index benchmarks 115 countries on the current performance of their energy systems across three dimensions — economic development and growth, environmental sustainability, and energy security and access indicators — and their readiness to transition to secure, sustainable, affordable, and inclusive energy systems.

For Other Months Important Data & Facts : Click Here