IMPORTANT FACTS /DATA /FIGURES

GEOGRAPHY & RESOURCES

  • Glaciers, ice caps and continental ice sheets cover some 10% of the earth’s land surface at the present time, whereas during the ice ages, they covered about three times this amount.
  • Government data indicates that India lost crops on 18 million hectares to extreme floods between 2017 and 2019. Madhya Pradesh was the hardest-hit among all.
  • Forests around the world serve as carbon sinks: They absorbed around 15.6 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from Earth’s atmosphere each year between 2001 and 2019. At the same time, deforestation, fires, among other disturbances released 8.1 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
  • India failed to achieve its annual targets for solar installations in the last five years, according to the Economic Survey 2021.

SOCIAL ISSUES

Child Marriages

  • According to a United Nations Population Fund report, India is home to one in three child brides in the world.
  • Almost 40% of girls aged 15-18 do not attend school, as per a report of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
  • A report published by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on July 2 said that while child marriages were almost universally banned, “yet they happen 33,000 times a day, every day, all around the world”.
  • An estimated 650 million girls and women alive today were married as children, and by 2030, another 150 million girls under the age of 18 will be married. Although advances in India have contributed to a 50 per cent decline in child marriage in South Asia—to 30 per cent in 2018, the region still accounts for the largest number of child marriages each year, estimated at 4.1 million in 2017, the report said.
  • In India, an analysis of child marriage data show that among girls married by age 18, 46 per cent were also in the lowest income bracket.
  • UNICEF estimates suggest that each year, at least 1.5 million girls under the age of 18 are married in India, which makes the country home to the largest number of child brides in the world — accounting for a third of the global total.
  • Nearly 16 per cent adolescent girls aged 15-19 are currently married.

CONSTITUTION, POLITY & GOVERNANCE

  • According to a 2007 World Bank study on ‘Land Policies for growth and poverty reduction’, land-related disputes accounted for two-thirds of all pending court cases in India.
  • At least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered.
  • According to the United Nations (UN), every two weeks, a language disappears and the world loses an entire cultural and intellectual heritage.
  • In India where the police to population ratio is less than 150 per 100,000, whereas the United Nations recommends 222 police officials per 100,000 residents.
  • According to a report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR),the number of registered unrecognised political parties has increased two-fold from 2010 to 2019.
  • There are 2,360 political parties registered with the Election Commission of India and 97.50% of them are unrecognised.
  • In 2018, the Commission analysed the data of 1.3 lakh central jobs given under OBC quota over the preceding five years and OBC admissions to central higher education institutions, including universities, IITs, NITs, IIMs and AIIMS, over the preceding three years.
  • The findings were: 97% of all jobs and educational seats have gone to just 25% of all sub-castes classified as OBCs; 24.95% of these jobs and seats have gone to just 10 OBC communities; 983 OBC communities — 37% of the total — have zero representation in jobs and educational institutions; 994 OBC sub-castes have a total representation of only 2.68% in recruitment and admissions.
  • As per the report submitted to the NCBC by the Department of Personnel and Training on July 24, 2020, OBC representation is 16.51 % in group-A central government services, 13.38 % in group-B, 21.25 % in group-C (excluding safai karmacharis) and 17.72 % in group-C (safai karmacharis). This data was for only 42 ministries/departments of the central government.
  • According to the CAG report, which analysed the state of rural water supply between 2012 and 2017, 4.76 lakh habitations had slipped from ‘fully covered’ to ‘partially covered’.
  • Only 2.2 % of cases registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act between the years 2016-2019 ended in convictions by court.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

Health

  • A 2019 joint global baseline report by WHO and UNICEF had pointed out that globally, one in four healthcare facilities lacked basic water servicing and one in five had no sanitation service and 42% had no hygiene facilities at point of care.
  • A 2012 WHO report had calculated that for every dollar invested in sanitation, there was USD 5.50 to be gained in lower health costs, more productivity and fewer premature deaths.
  • India is among the top nations with the highest Out Of Pocket Expenditure (OOPE).
  • A report released by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2019 suggested that nearly one out of every 100 Indian children does not live to celebrate their fifth birthday on account of either diarrhoea or pneumonia.
  • An estimated 150 million people across India are in need of mental health care interventions, according to India’s latest National Mental Health Survey 2015-16.
  • At least five per cent of India’s elderly population (aged 60 years and above) stated they experienced ill-treatment in 2020, according to Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI).
  • India has close to 50-100 million people affected by rare diseases or disorders, the policy report said almost 80% of these rare condition patients are children and a leading cause for most of them not reaching adulthood is due to the high morbidity and mortality rates of these life-threatening diseases.
  • Recently, the government’s maternity benefit scheme, or Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), has crossed 1.75 crore eligible women till the financial year 2020.
  • The Poshan Abhiyan was launched in 2017-18 in an effort to reduce stunting in children aged between zero and six years to 25 per cent, from 38.4 per cent by 2022. 
  • Data from the National Family Health Survey-5 from 22 states reveals that only 5.9-29 per cent of the children between the ages of six and 23 months get adequate diet.
  • According to the Global Nutrition Report 2020, there has been little progress in meeting the target of reducing anaemia among women of reproductive age. As many as 51.4 per cent of women aged 15-49 years are anaemic.
  • The National Health Policy of India, which came out in 2017, envisaged that India spends at least 2.5 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on health sector by 2025. India spent 1.8 per cent of its GDP on health in 2020-21; it was 1-1.5 per cent in the previous years. This is among the lowest any government spends on health in the world. As a result, India is among the 10 top nations with the highest out-pocket-expenditure (OOPE).
  • According to the new study, 82% posts of doctors that decide on termination of pregnancy beyond 24 weeks as proposed in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Amendment Bill, 2020 are lying vacant.
  • Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya had a 100% shortage of paediatricians.
  • In India, the malaria infections fell by 14.4 million between 2000 and 2019 — the largest reduction in South-East Asia, according to World Malaria Report 2020. 

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

India and China

  • China regained its position as India’s top trade partner in 2020, as New Delhi’s reliance on imported machines outweighed its efforts to curb commerce with Beijing after a bloody border conflict.
  • Two-way trade between the longstanding economic and strategic rivals stood at $77.7 billion last year. Although that was lower than the previous year’s $85.5 billion total, it was enough to make China the largest commercial partner displacing the U.S. — bilateral trade with whom came in at $75.9 billion amid muted demand for goods in the middle of a pandemic.
  • The bilateral trade gap with China was at almost $40 billion in 2020, making it India’s largest.
  • Total imports from China at $58.7 billion were more than India’s combined purchases from the U.S. and the U.A.E, which are its second- and third-largest trade partners, respectively.
  • Heavy machinery imports accounted for 51% of India’s purchases from its neighbor.
  • The South Asian nation also managed to increase its exports to China by about 11% from a year ago to $19 billion last year, which makes any further worsening of ties with Beijing a threat to New Delhi’s export revenue.

India and Ukraine

  • India is Ukraine’s largest export destination in the Asia-Pacificand the fifth largest overall export destination.

India and Srilanka

  • According to estimates, over 70 per cent of business at Colombo port is from ships in transit to the Indian coast, making it important for Sri Lanka, too.

India and South Africa

  • South Africa is the world’s 14thlargest emitter of carbon dioxide. 

CPTPP

  • Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a market representing half a billion people and roughly 13.5% of the global economy.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  • As per the Economic Survey-2021, the contribution of Livestock in total agriculture and allied sector Gross Value Added(at Constant Prices) has increased from 24.32% (2014-15) to 28.63% (2018-19).
  • At least 80% of India’s energy needs are still primarily met by three fuels: coal, oil and solid biomass.
  • Currently, India is at about 2-3 gw of solar photovoltaic module manufacturing
  • There is a 5% increment in the Union Budget allocation for infrastructure during 2021-22 as compared to FY 2020-21.
  • According to a recent Institute of Human Development Report, the total number of vulnerable migrant workers could range from 115 million to 140 million.
  • India is the fourth largest solar installed capacity country in the world and third largest renewable energy installed capacity country in the world.
  • There are 149.8 million women workers, out of which 121.8 million are in rural areas and 28 million in urban areas, according to Census 2011. Yet, women constitute only 18.6 per cent of the population working or looking for work, whereas the number is 55.6 per cent for men as of 2018-19.
  • Coal-based thermal power stations contribute over half sulphur dioxide (SO2), 30% oxides of nitrogen (NOx), about 20% particulate matter (PM), etc.
  • Coal-fired power plants account for over 60 per cent of the total particulate matter (PM) emissions from all industry, as well as 45 per cent of sulphur dioxide, 30 per cent of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and 80 per cent of mercury emissions.
  • Post-independence, in our country we had 28% farm labourers. In the census of the last decade this number rose to 55%. 
  • As per the RBI’s recent Financial Stability Report, gross NPA ratio of all commercial banks may increase from 7.5% in September 2020 to 13.5% by September 2021.
  • India imports 80% of its crude oil requirements and the average price of Indian basket of crude oil has already risen to USD 54.8 barrel for January 2021.
  • India is world’s third-largest energy-consuming country.
  • India has increased solar installed capacity by 13 times and expanded its non-fossil fuel-based power generation to 134 Gigawatts, about 35% of total power generation.
  • India is the 2ndlargest producer of Silk, contributing to about 18% to the world production.
  • Solar energy accounts for less than 4%of India’s electricity generation, and coal close to 70%.
  • Nearly half the world’s population without access to electricity (591 million) is in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the International Energy Association. 
  • All rural households in India are entitled to 55 litres of drinking water per person per day under the Jal Jeevan Mission.
  • Almost one-third of freshwater fish are threatened with extinction, according to the World’s Forgotten Fishes Report.
  • India ranks at the fifth position among the countries of the world when it comes to the size of its energy economy.
  • India is ranked third in the world in terms of building large dams. Of the over 5,200 large dams built so far, about 1,100 large dams have already reached 50 years of age, and some are older than 120 years. India ranks third globally after China and the United States of America, with 5334 large dams in operation. 
  • India has the 4thlargest wind power capacity in the world.

AGRICULTURE

  • About 82 % of the country’s farming community is categorised as small or marginal, according to Food and Agriculture Organization. These farmers have less than two hectares of land, according to the Union Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.

CYBER SECURITY

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had, in its annual report for 2018-19, said frauds related to misuse of credit and debit cards, cloning of identities, spam amounted to Rs 220 crore in the year, and was slated to rise unless proper mitigation measures were taken.
  • Almost 75% of cybercrimes such as child sexual abuse, terrorist radicalization or financial crime or disturbance of law and order with fake news, start with either phishing or social engineering attack through these messaging apps or social media.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

  • According to a FICCI-EY report for 2020, there are 300 million users of online news sites, portals and aggregators in the country.
  • It makes up approximately 46% of Internet users and 77% of smartphone users in India at the end of 2019.
  • With 282 million unique visitors, India is the second largest online news consuming nation after China.
  • India accounts for 400 million of the total 2 billion WhatsApp users and 310 million users on Facebook globally.
  • In the last three years — 2017-18 to 2019-20 — as many as 53,399 patent applications were filed from India of which, 27,934 i.e., 52 per cent, were from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu & Karnataka.

ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

  • According to World Meteorological Organization (WMO) records, 2011-2020 was the warmest decade on record, in a persistent long-term climate change trend.
  • From 1990 to 2005, carbon dioxide emissions increased by 31%. By 2008, the emissions had contributed to a 35% increase in radiative warming, or a shift in Earth’s energy balance toward warming, over 1990 levels.
  • Oceans absorb 90% of the Earth’s warmth, and this affects the melting of marine glaciers, which are mostly located near the poles.
  • Inland natural wetlands accounted for 43.4% of the total area, while Coastal-Natural wetlands account for 24.27 percent.
  • Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Rajasthan account for over 50 per cent deaths attributed to air pollution in India.
  • Atmospheric air pollution kills more than 10,000 people every day. Some 1.7 million Indians died due to air pollution in 2019, according to a report by interdisciplinary journal Lancet Planetary Health published December 2020.
  • Air pollution claimed approximately 54,000 lives in Delhi in 2020, according to a Greenpeace Southeast Asia analysis of cost to the economy due to air pollution. Six Indian cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Lucknow — feature in the global analysis.
  • Globally, approximately 1,60,000 deaths have been attributed to PM 2.5 air pollution in the five most populous cities — Delhi, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo.
  • Brazil, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa, the UK and the US represent 50 per cent of the world’s population and 70 per cent of the world’s emissions.
  • Adopting policies that are consistent with achieving the Paris Agreement and prioritising health could save 6.4 million lives due to better diet, 1.6 million lives due to cleaner air, and 2.1 million lives due to increased exercise per year across nine countries according to The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change.
  • India has nearly 4.6% of its land as wetlands, covering an area of 15.26 million hectares and has 42 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 1.08 million hectares.
  • Over 30% of deaths in India in 2018 were caused by air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Nearly 60 per centof CO2 emissions in the late 2030s will be from infrastructure and machines.
  • Gujarat ranks firstwith a total wetland area of about 23%.
  • Lakshadweep ranks first in terms of percentage extent of the total state geographic area.
  1. REPORTS & INDICES

Making Peace with Nature

Context

  • Recently, a new report released by United Nations ahead of its fifth Environment Assembly.

Key Details

  • The Report explains how climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution add up to three self-inflicted planetary emergencies that are closely interconnected and put the well-being of current and future generations at unacceptable risk.
  • Climate change is increasing the chances of the Arctic Ocean being ice-free in summer, further disrupting ocean circulation and Arctic ecosystems.
  • More than one million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species are increasingly at risk of extinction.
  • Coral reefs are particularly vulnerable to climate changeand are projected to decline to 10-30% of their former cover at 1.5°C of warming and to less than 1% at 2°C of warming, compromising food provision, tourism and coastal protection.
  • Every year, nine million people die prematurely due to pollution.
  • Up to 400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge and other industrial wastes enter the world’s waters annually.
  • Human prosperity is strained by widening inequalities, whereby the burden of environmental decline weighs heaviest on the poor and vulnerable and looms even larger over today’s youth and future generations.
  • Inequity in economic growth has left 1.3 billion people poor.
  • Society is failing to meet most of its commitments to limit environmental damage.
  • Society is not on course to achieve land degradation neutrality, Aichi Targets and targets of the Paris Agreement.

India Energy Outlook 2021

Context

  • Recently, International Energy Agency (IEA) has released India Energy Outlook 2021.

Key Details

  • India will overtake the European Union as the world’s third-largest energy consumer by 2030
  • It forecast India accounting for the biggest share of energy demand growth over the next two decades.
  • IEA saw primary energy consumption almost doubling to 1,123 million tonnes of oil equivalent as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expands to USD 8.6 trillion by 2040.
  • India at present is the fourth-largest global energy consumer behind China, the United States and the European Union.
  • India accounts for nearly one-quarter of global energy demand growth from 2019-40 — the largest for any country. Its share in the growth in renewable energy is the second-largest in the world, after China.
  • By 2040, India’s power system is bigger than that of the European Union, and is the world’s third-largest in terms of electricity generation; it also has 30 per cent more installed renewables capacity than the United States.
  • A five-fold increase in per capita car ownership will result in India leading the oil demand growth in the world. Also, it will become the fastest-growing market for natural gas, with demand more than tripling by 2040.
  • India’s continued industrialisation becomes a major driving force for the global energy economy. Over the last three decades, India accounted for about 10 per cent of world growth in industrial value-added (in PPP terms).
  • By 2040, India is set to account for almost 20 per cent of global growth in industrial value-added, and to lead global growth in industrial final energy consumption, especially in steelmaking. The nation accounts for nearly one-third of global industrial energy demand growth to 2040.

Oil Demand:

    • India’s oil demand is seen rising by 74% to 8.7 million barrels per day by 2040 under the existing policies scenario.
    • A five-fold increase in per capita car ownership will result in India leading the oil demand growth in the world.
    • Its net dependence on oil imports – taking into account both the import of crude oil and the export of oil products – increases to more than 90% by 2040 from the current 75% as domestic consumption rises much more than production.

Gas Demand:

    • India will become the fastest-growing market for Natural gas, with demand more than tripling by 2040.
    • Natural gas import dependency increased from 20% in 2010 to almost 50% in 2019 and is set to grow further to more than 60% in 2040.

Coal Demand:

    • Coal currently dominates India’s electricity sector, accounting for over 70% of overall generation.
    • Coal demand is seen rising to 772 million tonnes in 2040 from the current 590.
    • India currently accounts for 16 per cent of the global coal trade and many global coal suppliers were counting on growth in India to underpin planned export-oriented mining investments.

Renewables Energy Resources Demand:

    • India’s share in the growth in renewable energy is the second-largest in the world, after China.
    • Energy use (in India) has doubled since 2000, with 80 per cent of demand still being met by coal, oil and solid biomass.
    • On a per-capita basis, India’s energy use and emissions are less than half the world average, as are other key indicators such as vehicle ownership, steel and cement output.
    • India will soon become the world’s most populous country, adding the equivalent of a city the size of Los Angeles to its urban population each year.

The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change

Context

  • The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, published in a special issue of The Lancet Planetary Health Journal, highlights the benefits to health if countries adopt climate plans – Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – that are consistent with the Paris Agreement aim of limiting warming to “well below 2°C”.

Key Details

  • Adopting policies that are consistent with achieving the Paris Agreement and prioritising health could save 6.4 million lives due to better diet, 1.6 million lives due to cleaner air, and 2.1 million lives due to increased exercise per year across nine countries.
  • The countries considered in the study represent 50 per cent of the world’s population and 70 per cent of the world’s emissions – Brazil, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa, the UK and the US.
  • Currently, NDCs globally are not strong enough to achieve the Paris agreement (risking a global temperature rise of greater than 3°C).
  • Unlike the direct benefits of carbon mitigation which are ultimately long-term and understood in terms of damage limitation, the health co-benefits of ambitious climate policies have an immediate positive impact. 
  • For each nation, emissions generated from energy, agriculture and transport sectors, and annual deaths due to air pollution, diet-related risk factors and physical inactivity, were estimated for the year 2040 for three different NDC scenarios.
    • If India can adhere to these commitments, then the study indicates the country would be able to save as many as 4.3 lakh lives due to cleaner air and 17.41 lakh lives due to better diet.
  • Across all nine countries, the Paris Agreement-compliant scenario could save 5.8 million lives due to better diet, 1.2 million lives due to cleaner air, and 1.2 million lives due to increased exercise.
  • Adopting the more ambitious pathway, with explicit health objectives within the NDCs, could result in a further reduction of 462,000, 572,000, and 943,000 annual deaths attributable to air pollution, diet and physical inactivity, respectively.
  • The health benefits of strengthened NDC commitments are generated through both direct climate change mitigation as well as supporting actions to reduce exposure to harmful pollutants, improve diets and enable safe physical activity.
  • Those countries benefitting most from dietary improvements in proportional terms, are Germany with 188 deaths avoided per 100,000 of population annually, followed by the US with 171 per 100,000 and China with 167 per 100,000, as per the study.