Current Affairs - Study/Survey/Report/Index
On 31st July, 2023, the Rohini Commission, established to examine the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs), has submitted its report to President Droupadi Murmu after 13 extensions.
- Background and Commission's Purpose: The Commission for Other Backward Classes was appointed in October 2017 to examine the sub-categorisation of OBCs.
- Justice G Rohini, a retired chief justice of the Delhi High Court, leads the commission.
- Scope of Examination and Recommendations: The commission was tasked with studying the entries in the Central List of OBCs and identifying repetitions, ambiguities, inconsistencies, and errors of spelling or transcription.
- It aimed to assess the equitable distribution of reservation benefits among OBCs and establish a scientific approach for sub-categorization within OBCs.
Recently, the 17th edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI) was released by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
The key points about the report are:
- This widely recognized index ranks 163 independent states and territories based on their level of peacefulness.
- It aims to present the most comprehensive data-driven analysis to date on trends in peace, its economic value, and how to develop peaceful societies.
- It measures the state of peace across three domains: 1) Societal safety and security 2) Ongoing domestic and international conflict and 3) Militarisation.
The key findings of the report are:
- Global Deterioration: The average level of global peacefulness has deteriorated by 0.42%.
- Most Peaceful Country: Iceland retains its position as the most peaceful country in the world, a title it has held since 2008.
- Least Peaceful Country: Afghanistan remains the least peaceful country in the world for the eighth consecutive year.
- India's Rank: India has improved its ranking to the 126th spot, two positions higher than the previous year.
- Peacefulness Improvement in India: India has experienced an overall improvement of 3.5% in peacefulness.
- Factors Contributing to India's Improvement: The improvement in India's peacefulness is attributed to reductions in violent crime, improved relations with neighbouring countries, and decreased political instability.
- The decrease in geopolitical tensions with China and reduced social unrest have positively influenced India's political instability indicator.
- Ukraine and Russia: The war in Ukraine has had a significant impact, with Ukraine experiencing the largest deterioration in peacefulness and Russia the fifth largest.
- Other Countries: Haiti, Mali, and Israel also saw significant deteriorations in peacefulness.
Recently, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, released the first 'Sustainability Report for FY 2021-22' published by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
- This comprehensive report focuses on NHAI's governance structure, stakeholders, and initiatives related to the environment and social responsibility.
Key Findings of the Report
- Direct Emissions Reduced: From FY 2019-20 to 2021-22, NHAI achieved an 18.44% reduction in direct emissions due to less fuel consumption.
- Use of Recycled Materials: NHAI has been utilizing recycled materials for national highway construction, including fly-ash, plastic waste, recycled asphalt (RAP), and recycled aggregates (RA).
- Decrease In Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from energy consumption, operations, transport, and travel decreased by 9.7% in FY 2020-21 and 2% in FY 2021-22. This reduction contributed to a decline in the carbon footprint.
- Energy Intensity Reduction: NHAI achieved a 37% reduction in energy intensity in Giga Joules/km in FY 2020-21 and 27% reduction in FY 2021-22, indicating improved energy efficiency in operations.
- Electronic Toll Collection: Over 97% penetration of electronic toll collection through FASTag has helped reduce the carbon footprint.
- Wildlife Protection Measures: NHAI created over 100 wildlife crossings in three years across 20 states to reduce man-animal conflicts and promote wildlife protection and conservation.
- Plantation Drives: NHAI has undertaken plantation drives to develop eco-friendly national highways, with a significant increase in the number of saplings planted. Around 2.74 crore saplings were planted till 2021-22 to offset direct emissions from vehicles.
- Women Employment and Diversity: NHAI has increased women employment and employment of marginalized communities over the past three years, with a 7.4% increase in female hiring and a total 3% increase in the overall workforce.
- Voluntary Sustainability Reporting: The sustainability report follows the global reporting initiative (GRI) guidelines and has been externally assured by a third party. It aims to demonstrate NHAI's sustainability credentials and opens avenues for infrastructure financing through 'Green Finance.'
- Commitment to Sustainable Practices: NHAI is dedicated to ensuring economically viable, socially responsible, and environmentally sustainable projects, emphasizing renewable energy sources, green highways, and waste management practices.
Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report that highlights the significant impact of India's 'Har Ghar Jal' program on public health and economic savings.
Key Highlights of the Report
- Health Impact: The report estimates that ensuring safely managed drinking water for all households in India could prevent nearly 400,000 deaths caused by diarrheal diseases and prevent approximately 14 million Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) related to these diseases. This achievement alone would result in estimated cost savings of up to $101 billion.
- Speed and Scale: The 'Har Ghar Jal' program has been commended for its speed and scale, with a new connection being added every second. This rapid expansion is transforming public health in India.
- Progress of the Mission: The report highlights the progress of the mission, noting that rural tap water connections increased from 16.64% in 2019 to 62.84% within a span of 41 months. On average, one tap connection has been provided every second in 2023 so far.
- Economic Benefits: The mission's approved cost of INR 3,600 billion (US $43.62 billion) has been recovered twice over due to the 13.8 million DALYs averted, valued at US $100.8 billion. The provision of safe drinking water has a significant multiplier effect on health and brings economic benefits to individuals and society.
- Women Empowerment: The report highlights the significant time and effort saved for women and girls through the provision of tap water. In 2018, women in India spent an average of 45.5 minutes daily collecting water to meet household needs. Universal coverage through tap water provision eliminates the need for daily water collection efforts, leading to substantial time savings.
- Disease Burden: The analysis focuses on diarrheal diseases as they contribute significantly to the overall disease burden related to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) issues.
- Resolving Water Supply Challenges: Prior to 2019, water supply in rural areas was challenging, with a significant percentage of the population lacking access to improved drinking-water sources on their premises. Consumption of unsafe drinking water had severe health and societal consequences.
- Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The 'Har Ghar Jal' program aligns with the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene (JMP) to monitor progress on SDG 6.1 for safely managed drinking water services.
Recently, a study has revealed alarming findings regarding the impact of climate change on global biodiversity. The study highlights the potential abrupt loss of habitat for numerous species due to climate change.
- 30 Percent of Species over Tipping Points: Climate change has the potential to push up to 30 percent of species over tipping points as their habitats experience unprecedented temperature changes.
- Unfamiliarly Hot Temperatures: If the planet warms by 1.5 degrees Celsius, 15 percent of species studied will face unfamiliarly hot temperatures across at least 30 percent of their geographic range within a single decade.
- This risk doubles to 30 percent of species if warming reaches 2.5 degrees Celsius.
- Thermal Exposure Threshold: The study introduced the concept of a thermal exposure threshold, which signifies the point at which areas within a species' range consistently surpass historically extreme temperatures experienced between 1850 and 2014.
- Crossing this threshold does not guarantee extinction, but it poses a significant challenge for species to survive under higher temperatures.
- Many animals will experience the thermal exposure threshold across a substantial portion of their geographic range within a short timeframe.
- Potential Mass Extinction Crisis: Urgent reduction of carbon emissions is crucial to mitigate the detrimental effects of climate change and prevent a potential mass extinction crisis.
- Catastrophic Consequences: Visualizing the changes over time helps raise awareness about the catastrophic consequences of unchecked climate change.
- Combating Climate Change: Proactive measures are essential in combating climate change to protect global biodiversity and ensure a sustainable future for all species.
- The study's findings can aid conservation efforts by providing an early warning system to identify areas and species at risk.
Recently a report titled "The Green Shift: The Low Carbon Transition of India’s Oil and Gas Sector," was released by the Energy Transition Advisory Committee (ETAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoP&NG).
The report emphasizes the role of compressed biogas (CBG) in addressing the country's energy deficit and reducing emissions.
Key findings of the report are:
- CBG as an Alternative to Imported Fossil Natural Gas: India faces a significant deficit in natural gas supply, relying heavily on imports. CBG, derived from various waste and biomass sources, can serve as a viable alternative to imported fossil natural gas, offering nearly net-zero emissions and enhancing energy security.
- Current Status of CBG Plants: As of March 2023, only 46 out of the planned 5,000 CBG plants under the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) scheme have been commissioned in India. However, the industry is gaining momentum, with 4,090 letters of intent issued to stakeholders.
- India's Gas-Based Economy Goals: The government aims to increase the proportion of gas in the energy mix from the current 6.5% to 15% by 2030, establishing India as a gas-based economy.
- Policy Recommendations: The report suggests several policy measures to incentivize the CBG sector, including exempting CBG transportation through natural gas pipelines from charges for ten years, implementing a 5% CBG mandate for natural gas marketing organizations, and targeting a 10% blend of CBG in natural gas by 2030.
- Feedstock Supply Challenges: The lack of a reliable and consistent supply of feedstock poses a major challenge to establishing CBG plants. The report recommends the Ministry of Agriculture take responsibility for biomass management, supported by state-level policies and initiatives to promote biomass clusters and decentralized storage facilities.
- Financial Incentives and Institutional Framework: To attract private investment, the report suggests providing financial incentives such as improved access to credit, accelerated depreciation, long-term land leases, and tax holidays to the CBG sector.
- It also highlights the importance of establishing a coordinated institutional framework and promoting research and development (R&D) through collaborations with domestic institutions
On May 3, 2023, the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) Department of Economic and Policy Research (DEPR) released a report on Currency and Finance 2022-23.
Theme: Towards A Greener Cleaner India
- Expenditure for Adapting to Climate Change: India's expenditure for adapting to climate change would reach ₹85.6 lakh crore by 2030.
- Accelerated Reduction in Energy Intensity: To achieve India's net-zero target by 2070, there must be an accelerated reduction in energy intensity of GDP and a significant improvement in the country's energy mix in favour of renewables.
- Green Financing Requirement: India's green financing requirement is estimated to be at least 2.5% of GDP annually till 2030 to address the infrastructure gap caused by climate events.
- Public Sector Banks More Vulnerable: Public sector banks in India may be more vulnerable than private sector banks to climate-related financial risks.
- Policy Instruments to Influence Investment Decisions: Central banks have policy instruments to influence investment decisions and the allocation of resources and credit to achieve sustainability targets.
- Central Bank Regulations: Central banks could mandate banks and other financial institutions to consider climate and environmental risks through various regulations.
- Making the Net-Zero Goal By 2070 Attainable: A balanced policy intervention across all policy levers would enable India to achieve its green transition targets by 2030, making the net-zero goal by 2070 attainable.
- A Carbon Tax And An Emissions Trading System: The report recommends introducing a carbon tax and an emissions trading system linked to green taxonomy, as well as a green taxonomy in India to direct investment through better-designed policies and improve progress monitoring.
- Mine Rare Earth Elements: The report suggests ramping up domestic capacity to mine rare earth elements and produce critical equipment such as batteries and electrolysers, and investment in carbon capture and storage technologies.
- The Use of CBDC: The use of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) or e-rupee can be more environment-friendly compared to other cashless methods, provided it is designed with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) objectives in mind.
Recently, the Department of Science and Technology has released the "National Manufacturing Innovation Survey (NMIS) 2021-22: Summary for Policymakers.
- The National Manufacturing Innovation Survey (NMIS) 2021-22 was conducted by the Department of Science and Technology and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.
- The survey evaluated the innovation performance of manufacturing firms in India and offered insights into the enabling activities and barriers to innovation.
- Indian manufacturing sector has an overall India Manufacturing Innovation Index (IMII) score of 28.17
- The state of Karnataka ranked the highest on IMII 2022 with a score of 33.41.
- The low scoring states were North-eastern states (excluding Assam) (19.69), followed by Bihar (21.32), Assam (22.22), Jharkhand (22.78), Odisha (23.05), and Andhra Pradesh (24.25).
- After Karnataka, the states with the next highest scores were Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu (32.88), Telangana (32.86), and Tamil Nadu (32.54).
- All other states and Union Territories scored average IMII 2022 scores.
- The range of the IMII 2022 scores is 13.72, which represents significant differences in indicator-level performance across 80 indicators.
- The survey also evaluated how states and sectors have performed with respect to the manufacturing firms' ability to produce new products, services, and business processes.
- The findings from the survey can help enhance the competitiveness of Indian manufacturing.
- The survey can contribute to strengthening the baselines of capacities and capabilities, opportunities, and challenges in the manufacturing value-chains that require immediate attention.
Recently, the World Bank released the Logistic Performance Index (LPI) 2023 which measures the ease of establishing reliable supply chain connections and the structural factors that make it possible, such as the quality of logistics services, trade and transport-related infrastructure, and border controls.
- India climbed six places on the Logistic Performance Index (LPI), ranking 38th out of 139 countries in 2023.
- India's rank on LPI has significantly improved from 54th in 2014 and 44th in 2018.
- Singapore topped the index.
- India's improvement is attributed to its investments in both soft and hard infrastructure and technology.
- India moved up five places in infrastructure score, 22nd spot for international shipments, and four places up to 48th in logistics competence and equality.
- Demand for green logistics is rising, with 75% of shippers looking for environment-friendly options when exporting to high-income countries.
- The PM Gati Shakti initiative and National Logistics Policy (NLP) are major initiatives contributing to India's improvement.
- India's implementation of a supply chain visibility platform under a public-private partnership resulted in remarkable reductions of delays.
- The report suggests that end-to-end supply chain digitalization, especially in emerging economies, is allowing countries to shorten port delays by up to 70% compared to those in developed countries.
The Logistics Performance Index (LPI) is a benchmarking tool created by the World Bank to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics. The LPI ranks countries on six dimensions of trade, including customs performance, infrastructure quality, timeliness of shipments, logistics competence, tracking and tracing, and the frequency of shipments reaching their destination within scheduled or expected delivery times.
On April 4, 2023, India Justice Report 2022, a comprehensive analysis of justice delivery in India, was released.
- The report was based on 24-month quantitative research and analyzed data from authoritative government sources on budgets, human resources, workload, diversity, infrastructure, and trends against state benchmarks.
- The report evaluated Justice Delivery through four pillars: Police, Judiciary, Prisons, and Legal Aid.
- It also separately assessed the capacity of the 25 State Human Rights Commissions in the country.
- Karnataka has emerged as the top-performing state among 18 large and mid-sized states with populations over one crore.
- Uttar Pradesh ranked at the bottom of the list at 18th among the 18 large and mid-sized states with populations over one crore.
- In the small states category, Sikkim emerged as the top-performing state, followed by Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura.
- Goa ranked the lowest among small states.
- Karnataka was the only state to fulfill its quotas for SC, ST, and OBC among police officers and constabulary.
- The state has excelled in all four pillars of justice delivery, namely Police, Judiciary, Prisons, and Legal Aid.
- Tamil Nadu excelled in the judicial and legal aid categories.
- Telangana performed well in the prison category.
- Only Sikkim had a full judge roster at the High Court, while only Chandigarh had one at the district court level.
- Jharkhand would take 206 years to have 33% women personnel in the police force, while Andhra Pradesh could achieve it in just three years.
- Legal services clinics dropped from 14,159 in 2020 to 4,742 in 2022, with an average of one clinic serving 127 villages.
- The national average vacancy across 25 State Human Rights Commissions in 2020-21 was 44%, with Punjab SHRC reporting the highest vacancy at 94%.
The India Justice Report (IJR) was initiated by Tata Trusts in 2019 and has been published annually.