Important Data and Facts for Mains-May 2021


Geography (Resources)

  • India is the second-largest producer of wheat in the world, with over 30 million hectares in the country dedicated to producing this crop. But with severe groundwater depletion, the cropping intensity or the amount of land planted in the winter season may decrease by up to 20% by 2025.


  • It is estimated that India will add another 300 million urban residents by 2050.
  • At only 1.1 percent of the GDP, municipal expenditures in India compares unfavourably with all BRICS countries except China.
  • The urban population of china touched 901 million, accounting for 63.89%, up from 49.68% in 2010 with an increase of 236 million urban residents in the last decade.

Social Issues

  • Dowry deaths accounted for 40% to 50% homicides in the country for almost a decade from 1999 to 2018.
  • In 2019 alone, 7,115 cases of dowry death were registered under Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code.


  • China’s population was 1.41 billion in 2020, according to the census, increasing by 72 million since the last census in 2010, recording a 5.38% growth in this period. The average annual growth was 0.53%.

Social Justice

  • According to UNICEF, India has over 30 million orphan and abandoned children.
  • According to World Bank, India had 85.7 physicians per 1,00,000 people in 2017 (in contrast to 98 in Pakistan, 58 in Bangladesh, 100 in Sri Lanka and 241 in Japan), 53 beds per 1,00,000 people (in contrast to 63 in Pakistan, 79.5 in Bangladesh, 415 in Sri Lanka and 1,298 in Japan), and 172.7 nurses and midwives per 1,00,000 people (in contrast to 220 in Sri Lanka, 40 in Bangladesh, 70 in Pakistan, and 1,220 in Japan).
  • Out-Of-Pocket (OOP) Expenditure: The World Health Organization estimates that 62% of the total health expenditure in India is out-of-pocket (OOP), among the highest in the world. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha have a high ratio of OOP expenditures in total health expenditure.
  • As the latest Rural Health Survey shows, against the national norm of a sub-centre (SC) serving 5,000 people, a primary health centre (PHC) 30,000 people and a community health centre (CHC) serving 1,20,000 in ‘general’ areas (as opposed to ‘hilly or tribal areas’), rural SCs in the country serve 5,729, PHCs 35,730, and CHCs a whopping 1,71,779.
  • The CHCs in the country are missing 15,775 specialists (surgeons, OB-gyns, physicians and paediatricians).
  • The 2020 Human Development Report shows that India has five hospital beds per 10,000 people — one of the lowest in the world.
  • As per government reports, India has 1.7 nurses per 1,000 population and a doctor to patient ratio of 1:1,404 — this is well below the WHO norm of three nurses per 1,000 population and a doctor to patient ratio of 1:1,100.
  • As per OECD data, around 69,000 Indian trained doctors worked in the UK, US, Canada and Australia in 2017. In these four countries, 56,000 Indian-trained nurses were working in the same year.
  • The world reported estimated 229 million cases of malaria and 409,000 deaths in 2019, according to a WHO report. The WHO said an estimated 7.6 million deaths and 1.5 billion cases had been averted since 2000, but the global gains in combatting malaria have levelled off in recent years.
  • Hepatitis B and C cause 1.1 million deaths and 3 million new infections every year, respectively, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). But diagnosis and treatment remain low. Only 10 per cent people with chronic hepatitis B infection are diagnosed and 22 per cent receive treatment. For hepatitis C infection, 21 per cent are diagnosed and 62 per cent receive treatment.
  • Global targets aim to reduce new hepatitis B and C infections by 30 per cent through 2020 and 90 per cent through 2030. Around 1.5 million people were newly infected with chronic hepatitis B and 1.5 million with chronic hepatitis C, according to new estimates for 2019.

Women Related

  • About 113 women in India every year lose their lives as a result of libels due to teen pregnancies.
  • 70% of women of India are suffering from reproductive tract infections which may lead to infertility, abortions and similar kind of problems that are perceived as normal.
  • According to the World Bank, doubling the percentage of women in the workforce would boost India’s growth rate from 7.5 to 9% and raise the country’s GDP to US$700 billion by 2025.
  • According to a 2019 survey conducted by the Reserve Bank of India(RBI), only about 14 percent of all micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India are majorly owned by women, and only 5.9 percent of all startups are led solely by women.
  • McKinsey estimates that women do 75% of the world’s total unpaid care work.
  • A report by McKinsey Global Institute has estimated that India could add $770 billion to its GDP by 2025, simply by giving equal opportunities to women. Yet, the present contribution of women to the GDP remains at 18%.
  • The IMF estimates that equal participation of women in the workforce will increase India’s GDP by 27 percent. More than half of India’s women don’t have cellphones, and 80 percent don’t use them to connect them to the internet. If as many women as men had phones, it could create US$17 billion in revenue for phone companies in the next 5 years.
  • According to research by the International Labour Organization, advancing women’s equality in business would increase the global GDP by $5.8 trillion by 2025
  • Out of the total health budget of 2020-’21, only 4% was allocated for women and girls as per the Gender Budget Statement. 

Child Marriages

  • Recent study by The Lancet shows that up to 2.5 million more girls (below the age of 18) around the world are at risk of marriage in the next 5 years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates suggest that each year, at least 1.5 million girls under 18 get married in India, which makes it home to the largest number of child brides in the world – accounting for a third of the global total.

Constitution, Polity and Governance

  • As per the National Crime Records Bureau, while 96 persons were arrested for sedition in 2019, 76 were charge-sheeted; only 2 were convicted and 29 acquitted.
  • According to the data accessed on the National Judicial Data Grid (as on April 13, 2021), the pendency of cases waiting to be adjudicated upon is 3,81,44,088 at lower courts, 57,51,173 at high courts, and 67,279 at the Supreme Court.
  • India was ranked 163rd in ‘Enforcing Contracts’ in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings 2020.
  • Given the large vacancies of as many as 416 judges in the High Courts against the sanctioned strength of 1,080, it is good the Supreme Court has set a deadline for the Centre to clear appointment of judges. Indeed, it is unfortunate that there is a backlog of over four crore cases pending in courts, 60 lakh of which are awaiting completion in the HCs. 
  • According to a list compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in 2019, India ranks 153 out of 190 nations in the percentage of women in the lower house of world parliaments.
  • The average waiting period for trial in lower courts is around 10 years and 2-5 years in HCs.
  • The occupancy rate in prisons climbed to 118.5% in 2019.
  • Reporters Without Borders reported that 50 journalists from around the world died in the course of duty. Their deaths were linked to investigative stories about corruption, misuse of public funds, organised crime, and the coverage of protests.
  • Among the three new state Assemblies which was recently held, it has been found that, only Kerala recorded a marginal increase in seats for women from 8 to 11. Women’s representation in West Bengal remained unchanged with 40 seats (41 in 2016). Tamil Nadu, notably, recorded a decline from 21 seats to 12.

Poverty & Hunger

  • As per the State of Working India report 2021 of Azim Premji University, nearly half of formal salaried workers moved into informal work between late 2019 and late 2020 and the poorest 20% of the households lost their entire incomes in April and May 2020.
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has the largest number of people in the world — 27 million — facing food insecurity, including over three million children. One in three Congolese do not have enough food to feed themselves. The DRC, located in Central Africa, has spent decades in the grip of violent ethnic conflicts. As many as 20 million people there are in need of humanitarian aid.

International Relations

India and Pakistan

  • During 2020-21 (April-February), the recorded bilateral trade was $280 million, of which India’s exports to Pakistan were $278 million and imports were $2 million.
  • Nearly 77% of India’s exports comprised vaccines, pharmaceutical products and products of chemical and allied industries.
  • Interestingly, despite the trade ban, sugar was already being exported to Pakistan and was the second most important item, accounting for 15% of India’s total exports.
  • Dates were the most important item being imported from Pakistan, accounting for 31% of total imports, followed by ethyl alcohol, which accounted for 17% of total imports.

Science and Technology

  • According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), India’s overall tele-density is 87 per cent, with seven circles — Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka — having more than 100 per cent tele-density, which indicates more than one connection per person. Smartphone penetration has a similar skew.
  • According to Trai, India has 58 Internet subscribers for every 100 people.

Environment and Biodiversity

  • Air pollution (which the journal Lancet Planetary Health says this accounted for 1.7 million deaths in India in 2019; the annual business cost of air pollution is currently estimated at $95 billion, which is about 3% of India’s GDP).
  • India is home to 4,371 species of deep-sea fauna, including 1,032 species under the kingdom Protista and 3,339 species under the kingdom Animalia, a recent publication by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has revealed.
  • India is surrounded by the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, the Andaman Sea and the Laccadive Sea (Lakshadweep Sea). Of the 4,371 species, the maximum of 2,766 species has been reported from deep sea areas of the Arabian Sea, followed by 1,964 species from the Bay of Bengal, 1,396 species from the Andaman Sea, and only 253 species from the Laccadive Sea.
  • As per the International Energy Agency, through 2030, renewable energy sources will power an estimated 60% of new access connections, mainly through mini In coming years, India could well lead the way in demonstrating the impact of DRE on developing economies. The renewable-energy targets that India has set for itself—of installing 175 GW of clean energy capacity by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030—can be achieved much faster and with greater benefits, with the help of DRE projects.
  • A multi-country study involving 84 scientists has found that if nations meet their goals of today, melting of just land-ice due to the resultant rise in temperature will raise oceanic levels by 25 centimetres by 2100. 
  • Soil erosion and other forms of degradation are costing the world more than $6 trillion a year in lost food production and other ecosystem services
  • As per the estimates of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the average quantity of Covid-­19related biomedical waste generation during May, 2021 is about 203 Tonnes Per Day.
  • According to the Ministry of EnvironmentForest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), a total of 186 elephants were killed after being hit by trains across India between 2009-10 and 2020-21. Assam accounted for the highest number of elephant casualties on railway tracks (62), followed by West Bengal (57), and Odisha (27).
  • Tom Crowther, a Swiss climate change ecologist, has estimated that there are about 3 trillion trees on earth. He has calculated that there is enough space on the planet for planting an additional 1.2 trillion trees that would have huge benefits in terms of absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide, the main driver of global warming and climate change.
  • A World Bank report estimates that losses to India’s gross domestic product by 2050 due to climate change could be $1,178 billion.
  • As much as 20 per cent of the world’s current crop production and 18 per cent of global livestock production are at risk of falling outside the safe climatic space.

Disaster Management

  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) says 330 people died in commercial building fires in 2019, while fatalities for residential or dwelling buildings were much higher at 6,329.
  • The severe cyclonic storm Yaas, which made landfall in Odisha’s Balasore district on the morning of May 26, 2021, is the latest of the 96 tropical cyclones to hit the state in 130 years. As many as 541 tropical cyclones formed in the Bay of Bengal during the period, according to a study. Balasore has been the site of landfall for 28 cyclones between 1891 and 2021, including Yaas, the highest for a district in Odisha.
  • Nearly 35 per cent of all the cyclonic storms that have crossed the eastern coast of India have affected Odisha and the associated storm surges have often inundated large tracts of coastal districts.

Plastic Waste

  • In the last 50 years, plastic production has increased 20-fold and a mere 9% of plastic waste was recycled.
  • According to UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook, about 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans each year.
  • For every person born since the 1950s, one tonne of plastic has been produced.
  • More than 100 countries have some legislation regulating single-use plastic products.
  • According to the World Bank, 93% of waste is dumped into low-income countries, while in upper- and middle-income countries, 54% of waste goes into landfills.
  • 79 per cent of all plastic produced can be found in the world’s landfills and in our air, water, soil, and other natural systems. Plastic doesn’t belong in our bodies and it doesn’t belong in nature.
  • As much as 3.3 million metric tonnes of plastic waste was generated in India in 2018-19, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report 2018-19. This roughly translated to 9,200 tonnes a day (TPD).
  • The total municipal solid waste generation is 55-65 million tonnes; plastic waste is approximately 5-6 per cent of the total solid waste generated in the country.
  • Goa has the highest per capita plastic waste generation at 60 grams per capita per day, which is nearly double of what Delhi generates (37 grams per capita per day).
  • The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) in its 2019 report titled Good news from India claimed that India recycles over 60 per cent of its plastic, which was way higher than the recycling capacity of any developed country.
  • Only nine per cent of the plastic waste produced between 1950 and 2015 was recycled globally, according to a study by researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and others.
  • Out of the nine per cent, only 10 per cent was recycled more than once; 12 per cent was incinerated, and 79 per cent ended up in landfills or oceans and other water bodies.
  • India’s plans to phase out single-use plastic are already paying dividends as the world’s second-most populous country ranks 94th in per capita plastic waste production. A report by the Australia-based Minderoo Foundation said India’s per capita waste generated from single-use plastic is 4 kg. China is the largest producer of single-use plastic, followed by the US and India, the report said. The report, though, ranks India as the third-largest producer of plastic waste, its low per capita plastic waste puts it in favourably contrasting position compared to China — the only country with more people — and others which contribute relatively more plastic pollutants despite a very low population base.


  • 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.
  • India’s renewable energy capacity addition in 2020 declined by more than 50 per cent since 2019, primarily due to construction delays brought on by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according to International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Renewable Energy Market Update
  • India has a capacity to produce 50 lakh tonnes of stainless-steel flats. The consumption per capita is just 2.5 kg, as against the world average of 6 kg per capita. One-third of stainless-steel manufacturing capacity is in the MSME sector, and two-thirds between the private
  • India is the third largest consumer of raw materials produced globally and estimated to consume nearly 15 billion tonnes of material by 2030 with the current economic trends. 
  • According to the Economic Survey for 2020-21, India’s insurance penetration, which was at 2.71% in 2001, has steadily increased to 3.76% in 2019, but stayed much below the global average of 7.23%.
  • The “cryptomarket” grew by over 500 per cent, even while the pandemic unleashed global economic carnage not seen since the Great Depression. 
  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into India grew 10% in 2020-21 to touch a record $81.72 billion, with FDI equity inflows rising 19% to almost $60 billion.
  • Singapore emerged as the top investor with almost a third of all investments, followed by the U.S. which accounted for 23% of FDI and Mauritius from where 9% of the foreign capital flows originated.
  • FDI equity flows from the U.S. more than doubled during the year compared with 2019-20, while investments from the U.K. surged 44%. However, the sharpest growth among the top 10 FDI-origin countries was recorded from Saudi Arabia. 
  • Gujarat was the top FDI destination in the year gone by, accounting for 37% of the foreign equity inflows followed by its traditional industrial rival Maharashtra which got 27% of the equity inflows. Karnataka accounted for another 13% of the equity investments, indicating that the rest of the country got a disproportionately less 23% of foreign equity capital.


  • Long working hours led to 7.45 lakh deaths from stroke and ischemic heart disease in 2016, a 29% increase since 2000, according to the latest estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) published in Environment International.
  • In a first global analysis of the loss of life and health associated with working long hours, WHO and ILO estimate that in 2016, 3.98 lakh people died from stroke and 3.47 lakh from heart disease as a result of having worked at least 55 hours a week. Between 2000 and 2016, the number of deaths from heart disease due to working long hours increased by 42%, and from stroke by 19%.
  • In the farm-dependent population comprising cultivators and agricultural labourers, those involved in dairying and livestock constitute 70 million. Moreover, in the total workforce of 7.7 million engaged exclusively in raising of cattle and buffalo, 69 per cent of them are female workers, which is 5.72 per cent of the total female workforce in the country, of which 93 per cent live in rural areas.
  • In the Gross Value Added (GVA) from agriculture, the livestock sector contributed 28 per cent in 2019-20
  • Long working hours may be killing thousands every year: In 2016, as many as 745,000 died of stroke and ischemic heart disease as a result working at least 55 hours a week, according to recent estimates. 


  • The Indian Coast Guard was created through an Act of Parliament in 1978 and has today emerged as the fourth largest in the world, with almost 160 ships and 62 aircraft.




  • Recently, a report, titled Protected Planet Report 2020 has been published by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Key Findings

  • This report is the first in the series to include data on OECMs in addition to protected areas. It was issued by UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with support from the National Geographic Society, a global non-profit.  
  • The report underlined the progress the world has made toward the ambitious goals agreed by countries in 2010 at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity — to conserve 17 per cent of land and inland water ecosystems and 10 per cent of its coastal waters and oceans by 2020, known as Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, a set of 20 targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity. 
  • As many as 82 per cent of countries and territories increased their share of protected area and coverage of other effective area-based conservation measures (OECM) since 2010.
    • OECM are a conservation designation for areas that are achieving the effective in-situ conservation of biodiversity outside of protected areas.
  • Since 2010, over 21 million square kilometres has been placed within protected and conserved areas, meaning that 42 per cent of the area now within protected and conserved areas has been added in the last decade.
  • As a result, at least 22.5 million square kilometres (16.64 per cent) of land and inland water ecosystems and 28.1 million square kilometers (7.74 per cent) of coastal waters and the ocean are within protected areas and OECMs.
  • On an average, 62.6 per cent of key biodiversity areas (KBA) either fully or partially overlap with protected areas and OECMs.
    • KBAs are sites that contribute significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity, in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems. 
  • The average percentage of each KBA within protected areas and OECMs is 43.2 per cent for terrestrial; 42.2 per cent for inland water and 44.2 per cent for marine (within national waters).
  • There was an increase of 5 percentage points or less in each case since 2010, the greatest growth in marine and coastal areas, the report stated.
  • The report also called for existing protected and conserved areas to be identified and recognised by accounting for the efforts of indigenous peoples, local communities and private entities.



  • Recently, Climate and Clean Air Coalition and the United Nations Environment Programme has released a report titled Global Methane Assessment: Benefits and Costs of Mitigating Methane Emissions.

Key Findings

  • Human-caused methane emissions must be cut by 45 per cent to avoid the worst effects of climate change
  • Such a cut would prevent a rise in global warming by up to 0.3 degrees Celsius by 2045, the report added.
  • It would also prevent 260,000 premature deaths, 775,000 asthma-related hospital visits annually, as well as 25 million tonnes of crop losses.
  • Human-caused methane emissions are increasing faster currently than at any other time since record keeping began in the 1980s.
  • However, methane in the atmosphere reached record levels last year, according to the data from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • The report said this was a cause of concern as methane was an extremely powerful greenhouse gas. It was responsible for about 30 per cent of warming since pre-industrial times.

Steps to be taken

  • The UN report noted that most human-caused methane emissions came from three sectors: Fossil fuels, waste and agriculture.
  • Oil and gas extraction, processing and distribution accounted for 23 per cent of methane emissions in the fossil fuel sector.
  • Coal mining accounted for 12 per cent of emissions.
  • Landfills and wastewater made up about 20 per cent of emissions in the waste sector. 
  • In the agricultural sector, livestock emissions from manure and enteric fermentation constituted for roughly 32 per cent and rice cultivation eight per cent of emissions.
  • The assessment found that the mitigation potential varied between countries and regions. Europe had the greatest potential to curb methane emissions from farming, fossil fuel operations and waste management.
  • India had the greatest potential to reduce methane emissions in the waste sector.
  • China’s mitigation potential was best in coal production and livestock, while Africa’s was in livestock, followed by oil and gas.
  • The report said the fossil fuel industry had the greatest potential for low-cost methane cuts. According to the report, up to 80 per cent of measures in the oil and gas industry could be implemented at negative or low cost.
  • About 60 per cent of methane cuts in this sector could make money as reducing leaks would make more gas available for sale, the report said.
  • The waste sector could cut its methane emissions by improving the disposal of sewage around the world.
  • Three behavioural changes — reducing food waste and loss, improving livestock management and adopting healthy diets (vegetarian or with a lower meat and dairy content) — could reduce methane emissions by 65–80 million tonnes per year over the next few decades.



  • The ongoing ‘second wave’ the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic could put India’s economic recovery at risk, according to a new report by leading financial institution, the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Key Findings

  • India’s economy, was expected to grow 11 per cent in fiscal year 2021, which ends March 31, 2022, amid a strong vaccine drive.
  • India’s gross domestic product (GDP) was expected to expand 7 per cent in 2022. This year, South Asia’s gross domestic product growth was expected to rebound to 9.5 per cent, the report added.
  • India was one of the 45 economies across Asia and the Pacific that were assessed.
  • The Asian Development Outlook 2021, said the 45 economies that excluded Japan, Australia and New Zealand, were to grow 7.3 per cent this year, supported by a healthy global recovery and early progress on COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The region’s growth is forecast to moderate to 5.3 per cent in 2022. Excluding high income newly industrialised economies, a growth of 7.7 per cent is forecast for this year and 5.6 per cent for next year.
  • It noted that while growth was forecast to be the strongest in east and south Asia, central and southeast Asia as well as the Pacific were to see more moderate growth.
  • Rising exports were boosting some economies in Asia, amid strengthening global economic activity, including a rebound in manufacturing.
  • China’s GDP was forecast to expand 8.1 per cent in 2021 and 5.5 per cent in 2022. East Asia’s GDP was expected to grow 7.4 per cent in 2021 and 5.1 per cent in 2022.
  • Average inflation in the region was forecast to fall to 2.3 per cent in 2021, from 2.8 per cent in 2020.
  • The report said that the pandemic was the biggest threat to Asia and the Pacific (including India). This was mainly due to delay in vaccine rollouts or major new outbreaks.

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