• India has 4% of the world’s freshwater which has to cater to 17% of the world’s population.
  • The projected demand for copper due to electric vehicles is expected to increase by 1.7 million tonnes by 2027.
  • More than 450 million, or one in five children, worldwide resided in areas of high or extremely high-water vulnerability, according to a new report released by the UNICEF.
  • The Fifth Minor Irrigation Census (the latest one, referring to the year 2013-14) says there were only 21.7 million minor irrigation structures in the country. Almost 95 per cent of these use groundwater. But 60 per cent of them are in disuse due to lack of water availability, indicating fast depletion of groundwater, the census found.
  • India had committed to achieve about 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030, as part of its nationally determined contributions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


  • According to a new report released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), one in five children worldwide reside in areas of high or extremely high water vulnerability.
  • According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimates, India’s population will reach 1.5 billion by 2030 and hit 1.64 billion in 2050.
  • At present, India hosts 16% of the world’s population with only 2.45% of the global surface area and 4% water resources.
  • Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) envisages supply of 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024.
  • As per the census 2011, more than fifty percent of India’s population defecated in the open, and recent data showed that about 60% of rural households and 89% of urban households have access to toilet.
  • On an average, women spend 2.4 more hours per day than men on unpaid care and domestic work. Among people who participate in the paid economy, women spend an average of four hours more per day than men on paid and unpaid work combined.
  • According to a report commissioned by UN Women and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), incidence of Gender-based violence (GBV) had increased during the pandemic with nearly four in ten women (38 per cent) and men (39 per cent) in the sub-region saying they knew at least one person who faced GBV. 
  • One in three women across the world, or around 736 million women, faced physical or sexual violence from their intimate partners or non-partners, according to a report released the World Health Organization.


  • Recently, a new research conducted by Pew Research Center has found that the coronavirus pandemic has pushed about 32 million Indians out of the middle class and increased poverty in the country.
  • From 2011 to 2019, the number of poor in India was estimated to have reduced to 78 million from 340 million.
  • Women are 25 per cent more likely than men to live in extreme poverty


  • As per the WHO, India accounted for 60% of all diphtheria cases globally in 2017.
  • Cases of malaria in children below 15 have gone down in the last four years in India. The number of infections dropped over 80 per cent in 2020 compared to 2017.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) March 9, 2021 introduced a Global Breast Cancer Initiative to reduce global breast mortality by 2.5 per cent by 2040. 
  • With an estimated 2.64 million TB patients, India has the largest burden of TB globally in terms of absolute numbers.
  • The All-India Rural Health Statistics (2018-19) indicates that there is a 75% shortage of qualified doctors and gynecologists. This shortage may continue to limit the access of women to safe abortion services.
  • India ranks 179thout of 189 countries in prioritization accorded to health in its government budgets.
  • The Incheon Declaration to which India is a signatory, expects member states to spend 4-6% of their GDP on education to achieve SDG4. to this declaration.
  • According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first World Report on Hearing, nearly 2.5 billion people worldwide or 1 in 4 people will be living with some degree of hearing loss by 2050. At least 700 million of these people will require access to ear and hearing care and other rehabilitation services unless action is taken.
  • Over 27,000 children are born deaf every year in India. 
  • In children, almost 60% of hearing loss can be prevented through measures such as immunisation for prevention of rubella and meningitis, improved maternal and neonatal care, and screening for, and early management of, otitis media – inflammatory diseases of the middle ear.
  • The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic increased the number of children lacking basic literacy at the age of 10 by nearly 17 per cent, according to a new analysis. This means 70 million children — over half the world’s 10-year-olds — will not have literacy expected at that age.
  • Worldwide, schools have been closed for months last year to check the spread of the virus, affecting 1.5 billion children and youth in 195 countries, according to UNESCO.  
  • Only 18 per cent of recovery spending announced by 50 largest economies to tackle the effect of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020 was green, according to analysis by Oxford’s Economic Recovery Project and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).


  • The Centre has rejected 4.3% of all Right to Information (RTI) requests in 2019-20, the lowest ever rate, according to the Central Information Commission (CIC)’s annual report. Rejection rates have fallen since the 13.9% rate in 2005-06, and have been steadily trending downwards since the 8.4% spike in 2014-15.
  • Till January 2021 including the lockdown period, around 76 lakh cases were heard in virtual courts across the country. 
  • In the next 3 decades, the number of cases is expected to rise by approximately 15 crores requiring a total no of judges about 75000.
  • While for the other countries, the ratio is about 50-70 judges per million people, in India it is 20 judges per million heads.
  • Almost 400 posts are vacant (40%) in the high courts.
  • According to the Economic Survey 2018-19 there are about 3.5 crore cases pending in the judicial system, especially in district and subordinate courts.
  • About 87.54% of the total pendency of cases is in the district and subordinate courts.
  • Every fourth parliamentarian in sub-Saharan Africa last year was a woman, according to a recent report titled Women in Parliament by the Inter-Parliamentary Union released ahead of International Women’s Day.


  • Hong Kong is the fourth largest export market for India.
  • According to World Bank report named “Connecting to Thrive: Challenges and Opportunities of Transport Integration in Eastern South Asia,”, free movement of cargo between the two countries could yield a 297 percent increase in Bangladesh’s exports to India and a 172 percent increase in India’s exports to Bangladesh.
  • Bilateral trade stands at over US$2 billion. After China and Japan, India is Sweden’s third largest trade partner in Asia.
  • In 2019-20, the bilateral trade between the USA and India stood at USD 88.75 billion. For the USA, India was the sixth largest supplier of services imports.
  • Recently, US has surpassed Saudi Arabia to become India second largest oil supplier
  • Pakistan is Sri Lanka’s second largest trading partner in South Asia after


  • The share of renewables in the power mix needs to increase to 90% for India to meet its net-zero goal. This is around 11% in 2019-2020.
  • India’s overall debt levels as a percent of GDP are the lowest amongst the group of G-20 OECD countries and also among the group of BRICS nations.
  • The primary sector in India(agriculture and mining sectors) contributes around 16% of Gross Value Added (GVA) while it employs around 43% of the workforce.
  • India’s GDP is estimated to contract by 7.7% in the Financial Year (FY) 2020-21, composed of a sharp 15.7% decline in the first half and a modest 0.1% fall in the second half.
  • The external sector provided an effective cushion to growth with India recording a Current Account Surplus of 3.1% of GDP in the first half of FY 2020-21.
  • The mining sector contributes around 7 to 7.5% of the GDP of countries like South Africa and Australia whereas it is only 1.75% in India.
  • Only 2.4% of India’s workforce is formally trained as per the Periodic Labour Force Survey of 2018-19.
  • According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey, 2018-19, the female labour force participation rates (LFPR) among women aged above 15 years are as low as 26.4% in rural areas and 20.4% in urban areas in India.
  • India has an estimated four lakh-plus installed solar water pumps.
  • As per data from the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, almost 51% of Indian MSMEs are based in rural areas.
  • The brick sector contributes nearly 0.7% to the country’s GDP, offers seasonal employment generation to over 1 crore workers, and has a strong influence on other economic sectors such as transportation and construction. The brick manufacturing industry consumes about 45-50 million tonnes of coal equivalent annually, amounting to 5-15% of the total energy consumption in the country.
  • According to Apprenticeship Outlook Report for 2021, some 41% of the employers in India are keen on hiring apprentices while 58% of enterprises want to increase the quantum of their apprenticeship hiring this year. India’s working-age population is estimated to continue to increase through 2041. 
  • Food loss and waste causes about $940 billion per year in economic losses.
  • At present, the world has a total wind energy capacity of 743 GW. This has helped avoid an annual CO2 emission of over 1.1 billion tonnes, which in equivalent to the volume of carbon South America emits in a year according to Global Wind Report, 2021 recently published by Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)


  • Research is incomplete if 20 percent of the world’s population, which is in India, is not part of it.
  • As per a recent report, India reported a 45% increase in the use of Artificial Intelligence, the highest among all countries, because of shift in buying behaviour and new business challenges.
  • According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India generated more than 10 lakh tonnes of e-waste in 2019-20, an increase from 7 lakh tonnes in 2017-18.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) could contribute more than $15 trillion to the world economy by 2030, adding 14% to global GDP. 
  • A study published in Naturereviewing the impact of AI on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) finds that AI may act as an enabler on 134 — or 79% — of all SDG targets.
  • Studies suggest that the India’s e-commerce market is expected to expand to USD 84 billion by 2021 from USD 24 billion in 2017.
  • India ranks 48th amongst 131 countries in terms of its innovation performance as measured using the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2020.
  • In India, the Government contributes 56% of gross domestic expenditure on R&D(GERD) while this proportion is less than 20% in each of the top ten economies.
  • The India Biotech sector, a 62 Bn Dollars sector in 2012 is expected to grow to 150 Bn by 2025.
  • Frontier technologies already represent a $350 billion market, which could grow to $3.2 trillion by 2025.
  • India is the second-fastest digital adapter among 17 of the most-digital economies globally, and rapid digitisation does require forward-looking measures to boost cybersecurity.
  • The Engineering Research & Development (ER&D) sector in India was expected to generate over 6.5 lakh jobs by 2025.
  • According to industry apex body Nasscom, Engineering Research & Development (ER&D) has the potential to become a USD 100-billion industry in the country in the next five years.
  • The global engineering research and development industry is expected to reach a spend of USD 2 trillion by 2025.


  • HSBC ranks India at the top among 67 nations in climate vulnerability (2018), Germanwatch ranks India fifth among 181 nations in terms of climate risks (2020). 
  • Over two-thirds of India’s industrial and transport energy use would have to be electrified, compared to less than 20% share of electricity in industrial energy use and negligible share in transport energy use as of now.
  • India’s per capita CO2emissions – at 1.8 tonnes per person in 2015 – are around a ninth of those in the USA and around a third of the global average of 4.8 tonnes per person. Almost 75% of the funds raised by the developed countries for climate finance are used domestically, despite developing countries bearing a significant burden of the emissions and loss of natural ecosystems as a result of the industrialization-drive in the developed world.
  • China has announced carbon neutrality by 2060, Japan and South Korea by 2050, but India is yet to announce a target.
  • As per the Emissions Gap Report 2020, over the last decade, China, USA, EU27+UK and India combined, have contributed to 55% of the total GHG emissions.
  • The World Bank has warned that climate change could sharply diminish living conditions for up to 800 million people in South Asia.
  • Methane from livestock raising and rice cultivation accounted for 35 per cent of food system greenhouse gas emissions and is broadly the same in both developed and developing countries.  
  • Odisha topped the list of states and Union territories with the maximum number of contaminated sites, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data.
  • Globally, air pollution accounts for 20 per cent of the infant deaths, and out of this, 24 per cent, the highest occurs in India.
  • As per the Global Burden of Diseases report, 2019, one child dies every three minutes due to air pollution in India.
  • The United Kingdom and the European Union are the only regions among 18 of the world’s biggest emitters that have significantly increased their greenhouse gas reduction targets, said United Nations in a new report.


  • There were 6.97 lakh cyber security incidents reported in the first eight months of 2020, nearly equivalent to the previous four years combined, according to information reported to and tracked by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In).
  • As of 2018, India has over 400 million internet users, making it the second largest internet population in the world.
  • According to a 2017 report, India has lost over 18 billion U.S. dollars due to cyber-crimes.
  • In 2018, there were over 27 thousand cases of cyber-crimes recorded in the country, marking an increase of over 121 percent compared to the number of cases in 
  • In 2018 alone, India recorded over two thousand cases of cyber-crimes related to sexual harassment and exploitation and over 700 cases of cyber bullying against women and minors.
  • India secures a spot amongst the top 10 spam-sending countries in the world alongside USA.


  • In the present scenario, India accounts for 0.2% of the share of global arms exports during 2016-20, making the country the world’s 24th largest exporter of major
  • According to a recent report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) India’s arms imports came down by a third (about 33%) between 2011-2015 and 2016-2020.
  • India remains the second highest importer, only behind Saudi Arabia.
  • Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Mauritius were the top recipients of Indian military hardware.
  • The U.S. was the second largest arms supplier to India in 2011–15 but in 2016–20 India’s arms imports from the U.S. were 46% lower than in the previous five-year period, making the U.S. the fourth largest supplier in 2016–20.




  • Recently, the World Bank has published the World Development Report 2021.

About the Report

  • The World Development Report 2021 provides a blueprint on how to harness the power of data for development, to ensure no one is left behind.
  • Most countries have shied away from an open-data policy — more so countries with developing economies.
  • Only 11 per cent low-income countries consistently made available with a license classifiable as ’open’, the report flagged.
  • The comparable rate for lower-middle-income countries was 19 per cent, for upper-middle-income countries 22 per cent and high-income countries 44 per cent.
  • Gaps in data on women and girls were particularly severe: Only 10 of the 54 gender-specific indicators (19 per cent) in the United Nations-mandated sustainable development goals were widely available. Only 24 per cent of the available gender-specific indicators were from 2010 or later.

Data gaps in India

  • The report echoed concerns on assessment of global poverty by World Bank, which has been skewed due to absence data on poverty from India.
  • India monitors 54 out of the 130 SDG indicators. While the overall number of monitored indicators has gone up, the country has dropped four indicators from its tracking list pointed out the State of India’s Environment In figures, 2020.



  • The 2020 Oxfam inequality index, which placed India at rank 151 in terms of workers’ rights and 129 overall out of 158 countries, lacked clarity and did not take into account provisions of the four new labour codes, Labour and Employment Minister informed the Lok Sabha.

Key Details

  • The Minister said
    • Code on Wages, 2019;
    • Industrial Relations Code, 2020;
    • Code on Social Security, 2020 and the Occupational Safety,
    • Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 had been passed by Parliament and notified.
    • The four codes, which subsume 29 Central labour laws, “extend social protection to workers, including in unorganised sectors in respect of extending statutory minimum wages to all, formulation of schemes for benefit of workers to provide for healthcare benefits, Employees’ Provident Fund, Pension and Employees’ Deposit-Linked Insurance, etc.”

Key Findings

  • India ranked 129 in the CRI index out of 158 countries on government policies, and actions in areas of public services of education, health, social protection, taxation, and workers’ rights.
  • India slipped from rank 141 in the year 2018 to 151 in the year 2020 with weak labour rights and high incidence of vulnerable employment.
  • In terms of its public services, it ranked 141.
  • India has been ranked 19 on the taxation pillar.
  • India’s health budget was the fourth lowest with half of its population having access to most essential health services, and more than 70% of health spending being met by people themselves.
  • Most workers earn less than half of the minimum wage, 71% don’t have any written job contract while 54% do not get paid leave.
  • Only around 10% of the workforce in India is formal.

About the Index

  • The Index ranked countries measuring their policies and actions in three areas that it said are proven to be directly related to reducing inequality:
    • Public services (health, education and social protection)
    • Taxation
    • Workers’ rights



  • More than 450 million, or one in five children, worldwide resided in areas of high or extremely high-water vulnerability, according to a new report released by the UNICEF.

Key Findings

  • Eastern and southern Africa had the highest proportion of children living in such areas. More than half of children (58 per cent) here face difficulty accessing sufficient water every day.
  • Other affected regions were West and Central Africa (31 per cent), South Asia (25 per cent) and West Asia (23 per cent).
  • More than 155 million children in South Asia lived in areas with high or even extremely high-water vulnerability, according to the report.
  • Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Tanzania and Yemen were especailly vulnerable.
  • The new report is part of Unicef’s ‘Water security for all’ initiative that identifies areas where physical water scarcity risks overlap with poor water service levels.
  • The initiative aims to mobilise resources, partnerships, innovation and global response to identified hot spots.
  • Nearly 600 million children — or 1 in 4 children worldwide — will be living in areas with extremely limited water resources by 2040, according to a 2017 Unicef report.
  • Unicef had set an ambitious goal to ensure every child had access to climate-resilient water services by 2025 and by 2030, for all children to have access to a safe and affordable water supply and to live in water secure communities.



  • According to an analysis by the Pew Research Center, India’s middle class may have shrunk by a third due to 2020’s pandemic-driven recession, while the number of poor people — earning less than ₹150 per day — more than doubled.

Key Details

  • The report uses World Bank projections of economic growth to estimate the impact of COVID-19 on Indian incomes.
  • The lockdown triggered by the pandemic resulted in shut businesses, lost jobs and falling incomes, plunging the Indian economy into a deep recession.
  • The number of people who are poor in India (with incomes of $2 or less a day) is estimated to have increased by 7.5 crore because of the COVID-19 recession. This accounts for nearly 60% of the global increase in poverty.
  • It also noted the record spike in MGNREGA participants as proof that the poor were struggling to find work.
  • The vast majority of India’s population fall into the low-income tier, earning about ₹150 to 700 per day.
  • The middle-income group is likely to have decreased from almost 10 crore to just 6.6 crore, while the richer population who earn more than ₹1,500 a day also fell almost 30% to 1.8 crore people.
  • If the COVID-19 recession has worsened inequality, the increase in the number of poor is likely greater than estimated in this analysis, and the decrease in the number who are high income is likely less than estimated. The middle class may have shrunk by more than projected.



  • Recently, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)has released a report on international arms transfer.

Key Findings

Indian Scenario

  • The report attributed the drop in India’s arms imports mainly to an attempt to reduce its dependence on Russian arms and complex procurement processes.
    • Russia was the most affected supplier for India and India’s imports of US arms also fell by 46%.
  • India is planning large-scale arms imports in the coming years from several suppliers.
  • The report highlighted that India’s top three arms suppliers during 2016-20 were Russia (accounting for 49% of India’s imports), France (18%) and Israel (13%).
  • India accounted for2% of the share of global arms exports during 2016-20.
    • It implies that India is the world’s 24th largest exporter of major arms.
    • It represents an increase of 228% over India’s export share of 0.1 %during the previous five-year period of 2011-15.
  • The report highlights that Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Mauritius were the top recipients of Indian military hardware.

Global Findings

  • The arms exports by Russia, which accounted for 20% of all exports of major arms in 2016–20, dropped by 22%.
  • The exports by China, the world’s fifth largest arms exporter in 2016-20, fell 7.8%between 2011-15 and 2016-20.
  • China accounted for 74% of Pakistan’s military imports during the last five years, which is an increase from 61% in 2011-15.
  • The United States, world’s largest arms exporter, saw its global share of exports went up from 32% to 37% between 2011-15 and 2016-20.
  • The five largest arms exporters in 2016-20 were the US, Russia, France, Germany and China, while the top importers were Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and China.
  • SIPRI said that military spending in Asia and Oceania “was 2.5 per cent higher in 2020 than in 2019 and 47 per cent higher than in 2011, continuing an uninterrupted upward trend since at least 1989” and attributed the rise “primarily to increases in spending by China and India, which together accounted for 62 per cent of total military expenditure in the region in 2020”.
  • As a consequence of the reduction in global GDP last year, it said that “military spending as a share of GDP—the military burden—reached a global average of 2.4 per cent in 2020, up from 2.2 per cent in 2019



  • Recently, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has released Technology and Innovation Report 2021.

Key Details

  • India was the biggest ‘overperformer’ in frontier technologies than the country’s per capita gross domestic products (GDP) would suggest.
  • India’s actual index ranking was 43, while the estimated one based on per capita income was 108. This meant that India overperformed other countries by 65 ranking positions. It was followed by the Philippines, which overperformed by 57 ranking positions.
  • China was at position 25; both India and China performed well in research and development. This was reflective of their abundant supplies of qualified and highly skilled human resources available at a comparatively low cost.
  • The Philippines has a high ranking for industry—because of high levels of foreign direct investment in high-technology manufacturing, especially electronics.

Need of the Hour

  • Developing countries should align science, technology and innovation policies with industrial policies. New technologies can re-invigorate traditional production sectors and speed up industrialization and economic structural transformation.
  • The report urges all developing nations to prepare for a period of deep and rapid technological change that will profoundly affect markets and societies.
  • It is up to policymakers to reduce this risk and make frontier technologies contribute to increasing equality, says the report.
  • Low-and middle-income developing countries and the least developing countries cannot afford to miss the new wave of rapid technological change.

Back to basics

Other Reports of UNCTAD

  • Trade and Development Report
  • World Investment Report
  • The Least Developed Countries Report
  • Information and Economy Report
  • Technology and Innovation Report
  • Commodities and Development Report



  • Recently, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)released the Food Waste Index Report 2021.

Key Details

  • The index was prepared by using data from 54 countries and then extrapolated to the remaining countries.
  • The report has revealed that 17% of all food available at consumer level(11% in households, 5% in food service and 2% in retail) was wasted in 2019 and around 690 million people had to go hungry.
  • This report estimates that around 931 million tonnes of food waste was generated in 2019.
  • 61% of which came from households, 26% from food service and 13% from retail.
  • Developed Countries like Austria produce very low amounts of waste at 39 kg/capita/year. On the other hand, countries like Nigeria are producing waste at 189 kg/capita/year. For India, the waste in kg/capita/year was 50.
  • This Food Waste Index Report aims to advance progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 12.3), i.e. “By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses”.
  • About 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food that is not consumed. Thus, tackling food wastage issues can further achieve Paris Agreement



  • Recently, released by World Health Organization. WHO conducted the study on behalf of United Nations agencies and gathered data from 2000 to 2018. The new statistics replaced estimates on violence against women brought out in 2013.

Key Details

  • One in three women across the world, or around 736 million women, faced physical or sexual violence from their intimate partners or non-partners.
  • Younger women and those in low- or lower-income countries were most at risk.
  • One in four young women in the 15-24 years age group, who were in a relationship, experienced violence from their partners.  
  • Around 37% women in the least-developed countries reported being physically or sexually abused by an intimate partner. The highest prevalence was found in Oceania, South Asia (includes India) and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Europe reported the lowest range (16–23 per cent) of intimate partner violence, followed by central Asia (18 per cent), eastern Asia (20 per cent) and south-eastern Asia (21 per cent).