Important Data and Facts for Mains-July 2021

IMPORTANT FACTS & FIGURES

GEOGRAPHY AND RESOURCES

  • In 2019, an analysis by private weather company Skymet reported that five States accounted for half the lightning strikes in that year, led by Odisha with 9,37,462 strikes or about 16% of the cloud-to-ground strikes. There were 20 million lightning strikes in that period with over 72% of them being instances of “in-cloud” lightning.
  • The most recent statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau, from 2019, said that year, there were 8,145 deaths in the country attributable to forces of nature. Of these, 35.3% deaths were reported due to ‘lightning’, 15.6% deaths due to ‘heat/sun stroke’ and 11.6% deaths due to ‘flood’. Most of those who died due to accidents caused by forces of nature were reported to be belonging to the age-group of 30-45 (25.3%) and 45-60 (24.9%) together.
  • Under ‘lightning’, Bihar (400), Madhya Pradesh (400), Jharkhand (334) and Uttar Pradesh (321) reported the maximum number of victims.
  • At least five Indian cities are already reported to have joined the list of world’s 20 largest water-stressed cities.
  • Nearly 1/6th of India’s 6965 groundwater assessment units (block/tehsil/taluka) are ‘over-exploited.

SOCIAL ISSUES

  • Between April 2020 and June 2021, an estimated 9,000 children have been rescued after being trafficked for labour, according to a child rights non-governmental organisation (NGO).
  • In other words, 21 children have been trafficked every day over nearly 15 months. The Childline India helpline received 44 lakh distress calls over 10 months. Over a year, 2,000 children have arrived at its shelter homes and 800 rescued from hazardous working conditions.
  • According to the National Convener of the Safai Karmachari Andolan,472 manual scavenging deaths across the country were recorded between 2016 and 2020, and 26 so far in 2021.

POLITY, CONSTITUTION AND GOVERNANCE

  • In its Democracy Report 2021, Sweden’s V-Dem Institute noted that India “has almost lost its status as a democracy”. It ranked India below Sierra Leone, Guatemala and Hungary.
  • The social implications can be gauged from the report, “Crime in India 2019”, published by the National Crime Records Bureau. As per the report, 25,023 cases of assault on women, 11,966 rape cases and 4,197 “dowry deaths” have been pending trial for five to 10 years.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

HEALTH

  • According to the Women and Child Development Ministry, more than 9.2 lakh children(from six months to six years) in India were ‘severely acute malnourished’ till November, 2020 with the most in Uttar Pradesh followed by Bihar.
  • National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) in 2015-16 according to which prevalence of severe acute malnutrition among children was reported at 7.4%.
  • Recently, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reported that Pneumonia contributes 16.9% of infant deathsand it is the 2nd highest cause of infant mortality (after prematurity & low birth weight).
  • India accounted for 88% of malaria cases and 86% of all malaria deaths in the WHO South-East Asia Region in 2019 and is the only country outside Africa among the world’s 11 `high burden to high impact’ countries.
  • One in three couldn’t afford food year-round in 2020 according to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021report
  • WHO estimates that poor diets are responsible for 22 per cent of all deaths among adults in the world.
  • Women can expect to live an average five years longer than men, but when it comes to healthy life expectancy, that advantage shrinks to less than half as much at 2.4 years according to World Health Statistics report 2021 of World Health Organization. Females in India can expect on average to live almost three years longer than males. But when it comes to living a healthy life, the difference almost vanishes.

WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

  • Only 12% of the Indian police were women as of 2020.
  • According to Periodic Labour Force Survey 2018-19 by National Statistical Office, women’s participation in the workforce fell to its lowest points since Independence in 2017-18.
  • About 85%, or four in five working women in India believe they have missed out on a raise, promotion, or work offer because of their gender, according to the ‘The Opportunity Index 2021’ report by LinkedIn.
  • According to an analysis by the Women’s Budget Group (2019), if an additional 2% of the GDP was invested in the Indian health and care sector, 11 million additional jobs could be generated, nearly a third of which would go to women.

EDUCATION

  • India currently ranks third globally in terms of the total research output, accounting for 5.31% of the total of research publications. 
  • India has the world’s largest population of about 500 million in the age bracket of 5-24 years, which provides a great opportunity for the education sector.
  • As of May 2021, number of universities in India reached 981. India had 37.4 million students enrolled in higher education in FY19. In FY20, Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education in India was 27.1%.
  • 100% FDI (automatic route) is allowed in the education sector in India.
  • According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), some 250 million children enrolled in elementary and secondary schools across India, and another 28 million aged 3-6 years in early-childhood education, have been affected by school closures.
  • The latest data confirm that a mere 22% of schools across the country on average had Internet access, while government institutions fared much worse at 11%.
  • India’s Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) stands at 26.3%, which means that only that percentage of youngsters in the 18-23 age group are pursuing higher education.
  • According to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health, 74% of students suffer from speech anxiety and find offline participation intimidating.
  • 75 per cent of kids in Class 3 don’t have basic reading and arithmetic skills according to the ASER 2018 Report. And the higher education figures are even worse.
  • The Indian ed-tech ecosystem has a lot of potential for innovation. With over 4,500 start-ups and a current valuation of around $700 million, the market is geared for exponential growth — estimates project an astounding market size of $30 billion in the next 10 years. 

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

INDIA AND AFGHANISTAN

  • In 2019-20, bilateral trade crossed $1.3 billion.
  • Afghan exports are mainly fresh and dried fruit.

ECONOMY

  • As per the latest UN Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation, India’s rank moved up from 78.49% in 2019 to 90.32% in 2021.
  • Estimates show that the central government’s expenditure on all major social protection programmes declined from 1.96 per cent of GDP in 2008-09 to 1.6 per cent in 2013-14 and to only 1.28 per cent in 2019-20.
  • India is the largest producer of milk in the world with an estimated production of about 208 million tonnes in 2020-21, way above its closest competitor, the US, whose milk production hovers around 100 million tonnes.
  • As per a report by World Trade Organization (WTO) on the trends in world agricultural trade in the past 25 years, India has entered the top 10 list of the countries exporting agricultural produce in the year 2019. India and Mexico with 3.1% and 3.4% share in global Agri exports, respectively, replaced New Zealand (9th) and Malaysia (7th) as the largest exporters across the globe.
  • India with about 63 lakh kms of road network is the second largest road network in the world.
  • IMF research has showed that raising women’s participation in the workforce to the level of men can boost Indian economy by 27%.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

  • India ranks number 4amongst the top 20 countries contributing biological databases.
  • Today, India is staring at an expected 3.5 million new vacancies in the cybersecurity space in 2021 alone. 
  • Cyber-security giant Norton highlighted that, in 2017, consumers in 20 big economies, including India, lost over $170 billion in cybercrime. India alone lost $18.5 billion.
  • Between 2019 and 2020, the number of cyber-crimes reported across India almost doubled, making the country one of the biggest victims of high-tech crime. 
  • The cybersecurity market across the country was valued at nearly 140 billion rupees, estimated to double by 2025.
  • Nearly 1.16 million cases of cyberattacks were reported in 2020, up nearly three times from 2019 and more than 20 times compared to 2016, according to government data presented in the Parliament. On an average, 3,137 cyber security-related issues were reported every day during the year.

ENVIRONMENT, BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Sikkim, the smallest State with less than 1% of India’s landmass, is home to 27% of all flowering plants found in the country, reveals a recent publication by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI).
  • Humanity currently uses 74 per cent more than what the planet’s ecosystems can regenerate — or 1.7 Earths.
  • Global coal use is estimated to constitute 40% of the total carbon footprint.
  • The compilation prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists about 37,400 species that are gravely endangered; and the list is ever growing.
  • Sikkim, the smallest State with less than 1% of India’s landmass, is home to 27% of all flowering plants found in the country, reveals a recent publication by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI).
  • 35 per cent of India’s tiger ranges currently lie outside protected areas.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that at least eight million tons of plastic waste are discarded into the ocean every year. This is said to be 80% of the marine debris.
  • Some 28% of the 1,38,374 species assessed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for its survival watchlist are now at high risk of vanishing forever.

PLASTIC WASTE

  • The Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) Annual Report on Implementing the Plastic Garbage Rules, 2016, is the only regular estimate of the quantum of plastic waste generated in India. According to it, the waste generated in 2018-19 was 3,360,043 tonnes per year (roughly 9,200 tonnes per day).
  • Only 9% of all plastic waste has ever been recycled.
  • Approximately 12 % has been burnt, while the remaining 79 % has accumulated in landfills.
  • Plastic waste is blocking our sewers, threatening marine life and generating health risks for residents in landfills or the natural environment.
  • According to the World Economic Forum report, 2016, under a “business-as-usual” scenario, this $2.1 billion per year estimate is likely to rise, as plastics production is expected to triple between now and 2050.

SECURITY

  • Media reports suggest that counting even ageing aircraft, the IAF is 25% short on fighter squadrons. A pan service shortage of about 400 pilots, almost 10% of their authorized strength, further aggravates this.
  • According to Global Terrorism Index 2019, The global economic impact of terrorism in 2018 amounted to $33 billion.

MAJOR REPORT AND INDICES

INDIA INEQUALITY REPORT 2021

Context

  • Recently, the Oxfam India has released the 2021 edition of the India Inequality Report.
  • It provides a comprehensive analysis of the health outcomes across different socioeconomic groups to gauge the level of health inequality that persists in the country.

Key Highlights of India Inequality Report 2021

Health Inequalities

  • It stated that India’s low spending on public healthcare systems and focus on supporting private healthcare has led to serious inequalities in access to healthcare.
  • It highlighted that the states that have for the past few years been reducing inequalities, such as inequalities to access to health between the general category and SC and ST populations, have less confirmed cases of COVID.
  • It also highlighted that the states that have had higher GDP expenditure on health have higher recovery rates of COVID cases.
  • It stated that those in higher income brackets, and with access to health infrastructure, had to face less visits to hospitals and Covid centres than those belonging to lower income groups.
  • It found out that people belonging to lower income groups also faced five times more discrimination on being found Covid-positive than those in higher income groups.
  • It highlighted that India’s low spending on public healthcare has left the poor and marginalized with two difficult options i.e. suboptimal and weak public healthcare or expensive private healthcare.

Child Immunization

  • The rate of immunization of girls continues to be below that of the male child.
  • The immunization of children in urban areas is more than those in rural areas.
  • The immunization of SCs and STs is behind that of other caste groups.
  • The child immunization of the high-wealth quintile group is much higher than that of low-wealth quintile.

Health Status of Women

  • The percentage of mothers who have received full antenatal care declined from 37 percent in 2005-06 to 21 percent in 2015-16.
  • The full antenatal care for urban areas is close to two times that of rural areas, and immunization among Muslims the lowest i.e. lower than the SC/ST populations.

Key Recommendations under India Inequality Report 2021

  • The right to health should be enacted as a fundamental right that makes it obligatory for the government to ensure equal access to timely, acceptable, and affordable healthcare of appropriate quality.
  • The free vaccine policy should adopt an inclusive model to ensure that everyone, irrespective of their gender, caste, religion or location i.e. people living in hard-to-reach areas, gets the vaccine without any delay.
  • Increase health spending to 2.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to ensure a more equitable health system in the country.
  • Regions with higher concentration of marginalized population should be identified and public health facilities should be established, equipped and made fully functional as per the Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS).
  • Institutionalize a centrally-sponsored scheme that earmarks funds for the provision of free essential drugs and diagnostics at all public health facilities.

GLOBAL CYBERSECURITY INDEX 2020

Context

  • Recently, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has launched the Global Cybersecurity Index 2020

Key Findings of Global Cybersecurity Index 2020

  • India has made it to the top 10 in Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) 2020 by ITU, moving up 37 places to rank as the tenth best country in the world on key cybersafety parameters.
    • In the last edition of the GCI in 2018, India was placed at the 47th spot and specifically in the Asia-Pacific region, was surpassed by countries such as South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan. 
  • India is emerging as a global IT superpower, asserting its digital sovereignty with firm measures to safeguard data privacy and online rights of citizens.
  • India has also secured the fourth position in the Asia Pacific region, underlining its commitment to cybersecurity.
  • The GCI results for India show substantial overall improvement and strengthening under all parameters of the cybersecurity domain.
  • India scored a total of 97.5 points from a possible maximum of 100 points, to make it to the tenth position worldwide in the GCI 2020.
  • India has worked relentlessly on all the five pillars over the last few years, resulting in significant improvement in its ranking in GCI.
  • The US topped the chart, followed by the UK and Saudi Arabia tied on the second position, while Estonia was ranked third in the index.
    • Other countries on the top of the index included Russia, UAE, and Malaysia at the fifth spot (98.06), Lithuania at the sixth, Japan at seventh, and Canada, France, and India following in subsequent positions. Meanwhile, the list featured China at the 33rd spot and Pakistan at the 79th spot in the GCI 2020 report.

Back to Basics

About Global Cybersecurity Index

  • GCI assessment is done on the basis of performance on five parameters of cybersecurity including legal measures, technical measures, organisational measures, capacity development, and cooperation. The performance is then aggregated into an overall score.
  • For each of the five aspects, all the countries’ performance and commitment were assessed through a question-based online survey, which further allowed for the collection of the supporting evidence.
  • Through in-depth consultations with a group of experts, the questions were then weighted and assessed, to arrive at the overall scores.
  • The latest report is the fourth GCI edition by the ITU, with the first edition launched six years ago.

STATE OF FOOD SECURITY NUTRITION IN THE WORLD 2021 (SOFI)

Context

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021report has a grim reminder of this impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  
  • The FAO report has quoted a study done in 63 low- and middle-income countries covering a population of 3.5 billion on changes in the income of people. 

Key Findings

  • the pandemic led to an additional 141 million people being unable to afford a healthy diet in the countries studied
  • By the end of 2020, global consumer food prices were the highest in six years. In the first four months of 2021, they continued to rise.
  • In 2020, some 2.37 billion people couldn’t access adequate food in 2020; an increase of 320 million people in comparison to the 2019 figure.
  • Or, one in three people in the world couldn’t access adequate food — read year-round access to adequate food — in 2020.
  • Nearly 12 per cent of the global population faced severe levels of food insecurity or they ran out of food and in worst situations, must have a day without food. In one year — that is 2020 — the rise in the food insecure population was more than the combined number of the last five years.
  • More people in 2020 were unable to afford a healthy diet in comparison to 2019.
  • The number of people unable to afford even half the cost of a healthy diet was also estimated to have risen from 43 per cent to 50 per cent.
  • Between 720 and 811 million people in the world endured hunger in 2020. In comparison to 2019, there were an additional 161 million people who faced hunger.
  • All other things constant, around 660 million people may still face hunger in 2030 in part due to lasting effects of the pandemic on global food security — 30 million more people than in a scenario in which the pandemic had not occurred.
  • According to FAO data in the report, in 2020, 149 million children (under five years of age) will grow up stunted or too short for their age. Some 45 million children have been wasted, or do not have the right weight for their height.  

A Healthy Diet

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “a healthy diet contains a balanced, diverse and appropriate selection of foods eaten over a period of time” and “it protects against malnutrition in all its forms, including non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer”.
  • In normal times, a healthy diet costs more; at the global level, the cost of a healthy diet in 2019 was $4.04 per person / day (compare it with the international poverty line of $1.90 per day). FAO’s analysis shows that the cost of a healthy diet was 60 per cent more than a diet that just meets “requirements for essential nutrients” and almost five times as much as a diet that just meets “the minimum dietary energy needs through a starchy staple”.
  • WHO estimates that poor diets are responsible for 22 per cent of all deaths among adults in the world.

The way forward: Food system transformation

  • When transformed with greater resilience to major drivers, including conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns, food systems can provide affordable healthy diets that are sustainable and inclusive, and become a powerful driving force towards ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms, for all.
  • Depending on context, there are six pathways to follow towards food systems transformation:
    • Integrating humanitarian, development and peacebuilding policies in conflict-affected areas.
    • Scaling up climate resilience across food systems.
    • Strengthening resilience of the most vulnerable to economic adversity.
    • Intervening along the food supply chains to lower the cost of nutritious foods.
    • Tackling poverty and structural inequalities, ensuring interventions are pro-poor and inclusive.
    • Strengthening food environments and changing consumer behaviour to promote dietary patterns with positive impacts on human health and the environment.

Conclusion

  • 2021 offers a unique opportunity for advancing food security and nutrition through transforming food systems with the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit, the Nutrition for Growth Summit and the COP26 on climate change.
  • These events are an unprecedented opportunity to generate commitments towards transforming food systems to eradicate food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms and deliver affordable healthy diets for all, and to build forward better from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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