Current Affairs - Survey And Index

Women, Business And The Law 2020

  • On 15th January, 2020, the World Bank released a report - Women, Business and the Law 2020, which analyzes the laws and regulations affecting women’s economic opportunity all over the world.


  • The ultimate goal is to encourage governments to reform laws that hold women back from working and doing business.

About the Women, Business and the Law

  • Women, Business, and the Law (WBL) is a World Bank Group project that collects unique data on the laws and regulations that restrict women’s economic opportunities to improve gender equality.
  • WBL 2020, sixth in the series, measure 190 economies, track how laws affect women at different stages in their working lives and focusing on those laws applicable in the main business city.
  • It covers reforms in eight areas that are associated with women’s economic empowerment, conducted from June 2017 to September 2019.
  • The indicators are used to build evidence of the relationship between legal gender equality and women’s entrepreneurship and employment.

Eight Indicators

Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension

Key Highlights

  • The global average score in 2019 is 2, up from 73.9 in 2017 but the overall pace of reform has been slow.
  • On average, women have just three-fourths of the legal rights afforded to men.
  • The areas of Workplace and Marriage saw many reforms, especially in the enactment of laws that protect women from violence. In the last two years, eight economies enacted legislation on domestic violence for the first time. Seven economies now have new legal protections against sexual harassment in employment.
  • Since 2017, forty economies have enacted 62 reforms enhancing gender equality.


  • Eight economies—Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden—score 100, meaning that women are on an equal legal standing with men across all eight indicators.
  • The economies that improved the most are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Nepal, South Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe, Bahrain, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Jordan, and Tunisia.

Region-wise Performance

  • Regional distribution patterns have remained unchanged since 2017. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) high income economies score the highest, followed by the Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and East Asia and the Pacific regions.
  • Economies in Sub-Saharan Africa have an average regional score of 69.9, while economies in South Asia score 62.3 on average.
  • Economies in the Middle East and North Africa have the lowest average score, 49.6.
  • By contrast, no economy in East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, or Latin America and the Caribbean is a top reformer.

India and its Neighbouring Countries

  • India is placed 117th among 190 countries. Maharashtra has eliminated restrictions on women’s ability to work in jobs deemed dangerous.
  • Nepal, the economy with the third-largest improvement in the index, introduced a new labor law that makes women’s entry into the labor market easier by prohibiting discrimination in employment.
  • Pakistan and Sri Lanka both increased the period of paid maternity leave to exceed 14 weeks.


Use of Standardized Assumptions

  • It reduces scope of data; only regulatory reforms in the areas measured can be systematically tracked.

Coverage of Largest Business City Only

  • In non-federal economies, women in rural areas and small towns could face more restrictive local legislation. Such restrictions are not captured by WBL.

Focus Only on Most Populous Group

  • WBL data focus on the most populous group, which may mean that restrictions that apply only to minority populations are missed.

Emphasis on Formal Sector

  • It is unable to reflect reality for women in the informal sector, which may be a significant population in some economies.


  • By examining the economic decisions women make as they go through different stages of their working lives and the pace of reforms, WBL makes an important contribution to research and policy discussions about the state of women’s economic opportunities and empowerment all over the world.


State Energy Efficiency Index -2019

  • Recently, the Union Power Ministry released the State Energy Efficiency Index 2019, which tracks the progress of Energy Efficiency (EE) initiatives in 36 states and union territories based on 97 significant indicators.


  • Help drive EE policies and program implementation at state and local level.
  • Highlight best practices and encourage healthy competition among states.
  • Tracking progress in managing the state’s and India’s energy footprint.
  • Institutionalizing data capture and monitoring of energy efficiency activities by states.
  • Set a baseline for Efforts and provide a foundation to set state specific EE targets.

About the Index

  • The index is developed by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in association with Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE).
  • The first such Index, the "State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index 2018", was launched on 1st August, 2018.
  • The 2019 index incorporates qualitative, quantitative and outcome-based indicators to assess energy efficiency initiatives, programs and outcomes in five distinct sectors-buildings, industry, municipalities, transport, agriculture, and DISCOMs.
  • New indicators for this year include adoption of Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) 2017, energy efficiency in MSME clusters, etc.
  • The index also examines state’s policies and regulations, financing mechanisms, institutional capacity, adoption of energy efficiency measures and energy savings achieved.

Key Highlights

  • Based on their efforts and achievements, states have been classified as ‘Front Runner’, ‘Achiever’, ‘Contender’ and ‘Aspirant’.
  • The top performing states for 2019 Index- Haryana, Kerala and Karnataka, are in the ‘Achiever’ category.
  • Manipur, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and Rajasthan performed the worst in the Aspirant groups.
  • Since there isn’t any ‘Front Runner’ state, it can be inferred that a lot more can be done at state level to realise energy savings from energy efficiency.
  • For a rational comparison, the States or Union Territories are grouped into four groups based on the aggregated Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) required to meet the state’s actual energy demand (electricity, coal, oil, gas, among others) across sectors.
  • Under four categories based on TPES, Haryana, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Puducherry and Chandigarh have been evaluated as progressive states/UTs in the State Energy Efficiency Index 2019.

Three-Point Agenda for States

Based on the analysis of responses submitted by states this year, a three-point agenda is suggested for consideration by state agencies:

Proactive Role by States in Policy Formulation and Implementation

  • States must take an active authority to exercise powers under the Energy Conservation (EC) Act and start formulating supporting policies and implementation rules to shift the focus from “policies in place” to “policies successfully implemented”.

Strengthening the Mechanism for Data Capture, Management and Public Availability of Data

  • State Designated Agencies (SDAs) should significantly enhance their engagement with state departments,DISCOMs and private sector organisations beyond one-time data collection. Doing so will enable effective implementation of EE programmes, enable SDAs to measure and monitor progress, and most importantly provide a feedback mechanism for modifications in EE programs and policies and setting of realistic targets.
  • Building a robust system for demand side energy consumption data collection and analysis at local and state level will also contribute significantly towards a national Energy Data Management System.

Enhancing the Credibility of EE Schemes

  • Ensuring the integrity of programs that have direct or indirect linkages with common consumers is significant to energy efficiency market transformation. States must demonstrate an approach which includes enforcement and compliance checks as well as independent monitoring and verification of savings, which is integral to all EE policies and programs.


  • The Index will help states to contribute towards national goals on energy security and climate action by helping drive Energy Efficiency policies and programmme implementation at the state and local level.
  • It will help in identification of potentially successful programmes (based upon best practices), and increase awareness amongst SDAs and other state entities. This would eventually lead to more budget allocation and monitoring of programmes at the state level, there by fostering development of the entire ecosystem, including increased staff dedicated to energy efficiency in the states.
  • Finally, the Index will help determine India’s progress in managing energy footprint, whose criticality can not be overstated especially against the backdrop of India’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.

National Strategy For Financial Inclusion

  • On 10th January, 2020, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released the five year (2019-24) National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) with an objective to include all under formal access to finance - a key goal of the government.
  • The NSFI sets forth the vision and key objectives of the financial inclusion policies in India to help expand and sustain the financial inclusion process at the national level through a broad convergence of action involving all the stakeholders in the financial sector.


  • To provide access to formal financial services in an affordable manner.
  • To broaden the financial inclusion and promoting financial literacy and consumer protection.

Strategic Pillars of National Strategy for Financial Inclusion



Universal Access to Financial Services

  • The digital infrastructure in the country needs to be expanded through better networking of bank branches, BC outlets, Micro ATM, PoS terminals and stable connectivity, etc. coupled with electricity. Efforts are needed to be undertaken through co-ordination with various stake holders to ensure creation of the requisite infrastructure for moving towards completely digital on-boarding of customers.
  • Encourage adoption and acceptance for digital payments and bringing people into the fold of formal financial system.
  • Some of the issues such as remuneration to the Business Correspondents (BCs), need for furnishing cash-based collaterals, cash management issues and lack of insurance for cash in transit which act as deterrents in smooth functioning of the BC network, need to be redressed by banks in a timely manner.

Providing Basic Bouquet of Financial Services

  • The banks may undertake periodic review of their existing products and adopt a customer centric approach while designing and developing financial products.
  • Ensure efficient delivery by leveraging on Fin-tech and BC network.
  • Initiate measures for capacity building of the BCs by encouraging and incentivizing them to acquire requisite certifications and enabling them to deliver a wide range of financial products.
  • Make the Public Credit Registry (PCR) fully operational so that authorised financial entities can leverage on the same for assessing credit proposals from all citizens.

 Access to Livelihood and Skill Development

  • There should be convergence of objectives of the National Rural Livelihood and Urban Livelihood Missions to deepen financial inclusion through an integrated approach.
  • Inter-linkages may be developed between banks and other financial service providers with ongoing skill development, and livelihood generation programmes through RSETIs, NRLM, SRLM, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, etc.

Financial Literacy and Education

  • Concerted efforts are needed to ensure coordination among the ground level functionaries Lead District Manager (LDM), District Development Manager (DDM) of NABARD, Lead District Officer (LDO) of RBI, District and Local administration, Block level officials, NGOs, SHGs, BCs, Farmers’ Clubs, Panchayats, PACS, village level functionaries, etc. while conducting financial literacy programmes.

Customer Protection and Grievance Redressal

  • A robust customer grievance redressal mechanism at different levels helps banks in timely redressal of grievances.
  • Develop a portal to facilitate inter-regulatory co-ordination for redressal of customer grievance.

Effective Co-ordination

  • Strengthen the various fora under Lead Bank Scheme to ensure the achievement of the vision of the strategy at the ground level.
  • Leverage on the emerging developments in technology to promote effective stakeholder co-ordination by having in place a digital dashboard/ MIS monitoring.
  • Encourage decentralized approach to planning and development by creating a forum to actively involve Gram Panchayats/ Civil Society/ NGOs to accelerate financial inclusion using various tools like social audit.

What is Financial Inclusion?

  • Financial inclusion is defined as the process of ensuring access to financial services, timely and adequate credit for vulnerable groups such as weaker sections and low-income groups at an affordable cost.
  • It is also noteworthy to state that, seven of the seventeen United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of 2030 view financial inclusion as a key enabler for achieving sustainable development world wide by improving the quality of lives of poor and marginalized sections of the society.

Causes of Financial Exclusion in India

  • Lack of surplus income
  • Not suitable to customer’s requirements
  • Lack of requisite documents
  • Lack of awareness about the product
  • Lack of trust in the system
  • High transaction costs
  • Remoteness of service provider
  • Poor quality of services rendered

Challenges to Financial Inclusion

Despite the various measures that have been undertaken by various stakeholders in strengthening financial inclusion in the country, there are still critical gaps existing in the usage of financial services that require attention of policy makers through necessary co-ordination and effective monitoring.

  1. Inadequate Infrastructure: Limited physical infrastructure, limited transport facility,inadequately trained staff, etc., in parts of rural hinterland and far-flung areas of the Himalayan and North-East regions create a barrier to the customer while accessing financial services.
  2. Poor Connectivity: Still many regions in the country have poor connectivity tend to be left behind in ensuring access to financial services there by creating a digital divide. Certain communities are likely to be excluded where electricity is not available, hardware is in short supply or networks are limited.
  3. Socio-Cultural Barriers: Prevalence of certain value system and beliefs in some sections of the population results in lack of favourable attitude towards formal financial services. There are still certain groups (especially women) who do not have the freedom and choice to access financial services because of cultural barriers.
  4. Monopoly in Payment Infrastructure: Currently, majority of the retail payment products viz., CTS, UPI, IMPS, etc. are operated by National Payments Council of India (NPCI), a Section (8) Company promoted by a group of public, private and foreign banks. There is a need to have more market players to promote innovation and competition and to minimize concentration risk in the retail payment system from a financial stability perspective.
  5. Security Concerns: Given the increasing reliance on technology to deliver banking services to customers, it is essential that adequate attention is paid to security, especially IT security. Security related issues resulting in frauds potentially undermine public confidence in the use of electronic payment products. Further, they could also lead to reputation risks.
  6. Low Levels of Financial Literacy: A low level of financial literacy is often a hidden hurdle to bringing financial inclusion to the unbanked. Poor knowledge of how products work and their likely costs also reduce the likelihood of inclusion. The same issues may also prevent individuals from making full use of their existing products.

Way Forward

  • Financial inclusion is increasingly being recognized as a key driver of economic growth and poverty alleviation the world over. Access to formal finance can boost job creation,reduce vulnerability to economic shocks and increase investments in human capital.
  • Without adequate access to formal financial services, individuals and firms need to rely on their own limited resources or rely on costly informal sources of finance to meet their financial needs and pursue growth opportunities. At a macro level, greater financial inclusion can support sustainable and inclusive socio-economic growth for all.

India State Of Forest Report –2019

  • Recently, the ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change released the biennial “India State of Forest Report (ISFR)-2019, providing an assessment of the country's forest resources.
  • The report provides information on forest cover, tree cover, mangrove cover, growing stock inside and outside the forest areas, carbon stock in India’s forests, Forest Types and Biodiversity, Forest Fire monitoring and forest cover in different slopes & altitudes.


  • To monitor forest cover and changes therein at the National, State and District levels
  • To generate information on forest cover in different density classes and changes therein
  • To produce forest cover and other thematic maps derived from it for the whole country
  • To provide primary base layer for assessment of different parameters including growing stock, forest carbon
  • To provide information for international reporting

About the India State of Forest Report (ISFR)

  • The report is published by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) which has been mandated to assess the forest and tree resources of the country including wall-to-wall forest cover mapping in a biennial cycle.
  • Starting from1987, 15 assessments have been completed so far. ISFR 2019 is the 16th report in the series.

Major Findings

Total Forest Cover

  • The total forest cover of the country is 7,12,249sq km which is 21.67% of the geographical area of the country. The tree cover of the country is estimated as 95,027 sq km which is 2.89% of the geographical area.
  • The total Forest and Tree cover of the country is 8,07,276sq km which is 24.56% of the geographical area of the country.
  • It shows an increase of 3,976 sq km (0.56%) of forest cover, 1,212 sq km (1.29%) of tree cover and 5,188 sq km (0.65%) of forest and tree cover put together, at the national level as compared to the ISFR 2017.

Forest Cover in States

  • Area-wise Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra.
  • The top five States in terms of increase in forest cover are Karnataka (1,025 sq km), Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km), Kerala (823 sq km), Jammu & Kashmir (371 sq km) and Himachal Pradesh (334 sq km).
  • In terms of forest cover as percentage of total geographical area, the top five States are Mizoram (85.41%), Arunachal Pradesh (79.63%), Meghalaya (76.33%), Manipur (75.46%) and Nagaland (75.31%).

Forest Cover in North East Region

  • Total forest cover in the North Eastern region is 1,70,541sq km, which is 65.05% of its geographical area. The current assessment shows a decrease of forest cover to the extent of 765 sq km (0.45%) in the region. Except Assam and Tripura, all the States in the region show decrease in forest cover.

Forest Cover in Hill and Tribal Districts

  • It shows an increase of 544 sq km (0.19%) in 140 hill districts of the country.
  • The current assessment shows a decrease of 741 sq km of forest cover within the RFA/GW in the tribal districts and an increase of 1,922 sq km outside.


  • Mangrove cover in the country has increased by 54 sq km (1.10%) as compared to the previous assessment.
  • Top three states showing mangrove cover increase are Gujarat (37 sq km) followed by Maharashtra (16 sq km) and Odisha (8 sq km).

Total Carbon Stock

  • The total carbon stock in country’s forest is estimated 7,124.6 million tonnes and there an increase of 42.6 million tonnes in the carbon stock of country as compared to the last assessment of 2017. The annual increase in the carbon stock is 21.3 million tonnes, which is 78.2 million tonnes CO2 eq.


  • There are 62,466 wetlands covering 3.83% of the area within the Recorded Forest Area/Green Wash(RFA/GW) of the country.
  • The total number of wetlands located within the RFA/GW is 8.13%. Amongst the States, Gujarat has largest area of wetlands within RFA in the country followed by West Bengal.

Fire Prone Areas

  • Fire prone forest areas of different severity classes have been mapped in the grids of 5km x 5km based on the frequency of forest fires. The analysis reveals that 21.40% of the forest cover of the country is highly to extremely fire prone.

Forest Cover

  • Forest cover includes all tree patches which have canopy density more than 10% and area of 1 ha or more in size, irrespective of their legal status and species composition.

Recorded Forest Area

  • Recorded Forest Area is used for all such lands which have been notified as forest under any Government Act or Rules or recorded as 'forest' in the Government records. Recorded forest area mayor may not have forest cover.

Green Wash

  • The extent of wooded areas generally shown in light green colour on the Survey. The green wash has been used as substitute to RFA in respect of those States and UTs from where the usable digitized boundaries of recorded forest areas could not be made available to FSI.


  • It provides relevant information pertaining to each State such as biodiversity assessment, slope and altitude wise forest cover which would be very useful in formulating policies and strategies for conservation, management and enhancement of their forest and tree resources.
  • The report contains dedicated chapters on Bamboo Resources, Forest Fires, Carbon Stock, People and Forests and Forest Types and Bio-diversity. It will be of great relevance to the entire spectrum of stake holders from the policy makers, academicians, administrators, forest managers, and community based organizations to the citizens of the country at large.
  • In tune with the Government of India’s vision of Digital India, FSI’s assessment is largely based on digital data whether it is satellite data, vector boundaries of districts or data processing of field measurements.

Forest Survey of India (FSI)

Headquarters: Dehradun, Uttarakhand

  • Established in 1981, it is a premier national organization responsible for assessment and monitoring of the forest resources of the country on regular basis.
  • FSI succeeded the “Pre-investment Survey of Forest Resources” (PISFR), a project initiated in 1965 by Government of India with the sponsorship of FAO and UNDP.
  • The National Commission on Agriculture(1976), in its report  recommended for the creation of a National Forest Survey Organization for a regular, periodic and comprehensive forest resources survey of the country leading to creation of FSI.

Niti Aayog’s Sustainable Development Goals Index

  • On 30th December, 2019, NITI Aayog launched the second edition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index, which comprehensively documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards achieving the 2030 SDG targets.


  • Promote healthy competition and emulation among States & UTs within the framework of cooperative federalism.

About the SDG Index

  • The SDG India Index, first developed in 2018, was an attempt to present the achievements on the SDGs across the sub-national entities.
  • The SDG India Index has been developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), United Nations in India, and Global Green Growth Institute.
  • While the SDG Index- 2018 was based on 13 Goals, the SDG Index-2019 is based on 16 goals across 54 targets spread among 100 indicators based on national identified indicators and is also better aligned with the SDG National Indicator Framework.
  • A composite score was computed in the range of 0–100 for each State/UT based on its aggregate performance across 16 SDGs, indicating the average performance of every State/UT towards achieving 16 SDGs and their respective targets. If a State/UT achieves a score of 100, it signifies it has achieved the 2030 national targets. The higher the score of a State/UT, the closer it is towards achieving the targets.
  • Classification criteria based on SDG India Index score is as follows:
    • Aspirant: 0–49
    • Performer: 50–64
    • Front Runner: 65–99
    • Achiever: 100

Major Highlights

Overall India’s Performance towards SDGs

  • India's composite score improved from 57 in 2018 to 60 in 2019-20 with major success in water and sanitation, power and industry.
  • India’s ranking in terms of poverty has fallen from 54 points in 2018 to 50 points in 2019.
  • The maximum gains been made in Goals 6 (clean water and sanitation), 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure) and 7 (affordable and clean energy).
  • On two goals in particular — gender equality and zero hunger — far greater attention is required as the country’s score on both is less than 50.
  • Further, India has slipped a point down, from 65 to 64 as far as economic growth goes.

State and UT’s Performance

  • Kerala(70), Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana are the better performing States.
  • Bihar(50), Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh are the bottom most States.
  • Chandigarh maintained its top spot among the UTs with a score of 70.
  • Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim have shown maximum improvement, but states like Gujarat have not shown any progress vis-a-vis 2018 rankings.
  • In 2019 Index, five more states were included in the Front Runner category - Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Sikkim and Goa.


           Source: IE

 Source: NITI Aayog


  • Tool of Assessment: The Index serves as a useful instrument to judge the progress of the States/UTs in adopting and implementing the SDG agenda, where each State and Union Territory stands with regard to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Help to Identify Priority Areas: It presents a more robust framework for measuring the progress on SDGs at the sub-national level and supports States and UTs to identify priority are as in which they need to invest and improve by enabling them to measure incremental progress.
  • Devising Better Strategy: It will help the states to sort out the reasons for differential performance and devise better strategies to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
  • In Alignment with Government’s Mission: The Index acts as a bridge, aligning the SDGs with the Government’s clarion call of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, which embodies the five Ps of the global SDG movement - people, planet, prosperity, partnership and peace.

Limitations of the Index

  • The Index does not measure indicators of SDG 17 owing to the unavailability of suitable data at the State/UT level. However, a qualitative assessment of the progress under SDG 17 has been included. 
  • Full set of the National Indicator Framework (NIF) could not be included due to the unavailability of data at State/ UT level.
  • The indicators and data from State/UT statistical systems and non-government sources have not been included, to ensure data comparability and uniformity across them.
  • While the latest values of the indicators have beenused, most of them are from between 2015 and 2018.
  • The indicator set for SDG India Index 2019-20 is larger (100 indicators) compared to SDG India Index 2018 (62 indicators), there fore the two indices arestrictly not comparable.

Way Forward

  • India, with the world’s 17 percent of the population, faces multiple challenges in several sectors of development, be it health, nutrition, education, sanitation and infrastructure. However, these challenges also make India conducive for developing innovative solutions to address them and also provide a useful lens for solving similar problems in other parts of the world.
  • India is fully committed to achieving the Global Goals within the specified timelines. The country is well aware of the prospect that if India does not meet the SDGs, the world will be far from achieving them.
  • In this direction, the SDG Index is a powerful tool which offers excellent possibilities for the States/UTs to identify priority areas which demand action, facilitate peer learning, highlight data gaps, steering the country towards the achievement of SDGs.


Good Governance Index

  • On 25th December, 2019, on the occasion of Good Governance Day, the government launched Good Governance Index (GGI) to assess the state of governance in the country.


  • To provide quantifiable data to compare the state of governance in all States and Union territories.
  • To enable states and UTs to formulate and implement suitable strategies for improving governance and shift to result oriented approaches and administration.

Need for GGI

  • Till now, there was no uniform index to objectively assess the state of good governance in the states.


  • In recent year, India has seen a resurgence in the spirit co­operative federalism. In the interest of furthering this spirit, the Government of India constituted a Group of Secretaries (GoS) on Governance who recommended developing of an index to gauge the performance of the states of India.
  • The Department of Administration Reform and Public Grievances (DARPG), Government of India partnered Centre for Good Governance (CGG), Hyderabad as its technical partner in its endeavor to prepare the Good Governance Index (GGI).
  • Draft GGI report was finalised by DARPG and circulated in November, 2018 to all Ministries/Departments and States and UTs for feedback/input.

About the GGI

  • The GGI consists of ten broad sectors and 50 indicators. These indicators are given different weightage under one governance sector to calculate the value.
  • The ten sectors are-agriculture and allied sectors, commerce and industries, human resource development, public health, public infrastructure and utilities, economic governance, social welfare & development, judicial and public security, environment and citizen-centric governance.
  • While identifying the governance sectors, a zero­based approach was adopted and guidance from existing frameworks was taken. Schedule VII (List II and III) of Indian Constitution (Article 246) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of United Nations were also considered.

Major Findings

  • The states and union territories have been divided into three groups - big states, north-east and hill states, and union territories, for the rankings based on certain indicators separately.

Big States

  • Tamil Nadu (1stbagged the top position in the composite ranking for good governance index (GGI), followed by Maharashtra (2nd) and Karnataka (3rd).
  • While Orissa (14th), Bihar (15th), Goa (16th), Uttar Pradesh (17th) and Jharkhand (18th) were categorised as poor performers.

North-East and Hill States

  • Himachal Pradesh topped the list followed by Uttrakhand and Tripura.
  • Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are the least performing states.

Union Territories

  • In this category, Pondicherry, Chandigarh, and Delhi lead the ranking, with Lakshwadeep at the bottom of the Index.


Source: IE


  • Tool of Assessment: The good governance index is a uniform tool across states to assess the status of governance and impact of various interventions taken up by the state government and union territories.
  • Providing Information: The intent of the index is to provide information, so that State Governments can act and improve upon for the well-being and overall development of the State. In addition, it would also provide some insights to Central Ministries and Departments to act in accordance.

Good Governance Day

  • Good Governance Day (GGD) is observed annually on 25th December to create awareness of accountability in government among the Indians.
  • National Good governance day was established in 2014 to honor former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee by fostering awareness among the people of accountability in government.



Global Gender Gap Index – 2020

  • On 14th December, 2019, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published the Global Gender Gap Index-2020, which provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the global gender gap and of efforts and insights to close it.


  • It aims to serve as a compass to track progress on relative gaps between women and men on health, education, economy and politics

About the Index

  • The Global Gender Gap Index was first introduced by the WEF in 2006 as a framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress over time.
  • To be included in the Index, a country must have data available for a minimum of 12 indicators out of the 14 that compose the index.
  • The Index has been measuring the extent of gender-based gaps among four key dimensions-
  • Economic Participation and Opportunity: It contains three concepts the participation gap, the remuneration gap and the advancement gap.
  • Educational Attainment: This captures the gap between women’s and men’s current access to education through ratios of women to men in primary-, secondary- and tertiary-level education.
  • Health and Survival: It provides an overview of the differences between women’s and men’s health through the use of two indicators.
  • Political Empowerment: It measures the gap between men and women at the highest level of political decision-making through the ratio of women to men in ministerial positions and the ratio of women to men in parliamentary positions.

Key Findings

Global Specific Findings

  • Iceland is once again the most gender-equal country in the world for the 11th time in a row.
  • Iceland is followed by Norway (2nd), Finland (3rd) and Sweden (4th). Other economies in the top 10 include Nicaragua (5th), New Zealand (6th), Ireland (7th), Spain (8th), Rwanda (9th) and Germany (10th).
  • Yemen is ranked the worst (153rd).
  • On average, the eight regions assessed by the report have closed between 60.5% (the average score in Middle East and North Africa) and 76.7% (the average score in Western Europe).
  • North America is a few percentage points below Western Europe (72.9%) and Latin America and the Caribbean (72.2%) has almost caught up with Eastern Europe and Central Asia (71.3%). They are followed by East Asia and the Pacific (68.5%), Sub-Saharan Africa (68.2%) and South Asia (66.1%).
  • Globally, the average (population-weighted) distance completed to parity is at 6%, which is a further improvement since last edition.The political gender gap will take 95 years to close, compared to 107 years last year.
  • The largest gender disparity is reported in the Political Empowerment gap. Despite being the most improved dimension this year only 24.7% of the global Political Empowerment gap has been closed in 2020.
  • The second-largest gap is on Economic Participation and Opportunity; 57.8% of this gap has been closed so far, which represents a slight step back since last year.

Source: IE

India Specific Findings

  • India has been ranked at 112th globally in terms of gender gap,below countries like China (106th), Sri Lanka (102nd), Nepal (101st), Brazil (92nd), Indonesia (85th) and Bangladesh (50th). This slip is attributed to the widening disparity in terms of women’s health and survival and economic participation in the country.
  • India has improved to 18th place on political empowerment; it has slipped to 150th on health and survival, to 149th in terms of economic participation and opportunity and to 112th place for educational attainment.

Source: WEF


  • Tool to Track Progress: It provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the global gender gap and of efforts and insights to close it. The index offers a benchmarking tool to track progress and to reveal best practices across countries and subjects. Through this annual yardstick, stakeholders within each country are able to set priorities relevant in each specific economic, political and cultural context.
  • Providing Picture of Country’s Legal and Social Framework: It highlights wide performance variation across countries, which not only allow users to understand how close each country has come to the equality benchmark in each of the four dimensions, but also provide a snapshot of the legal and social framework within which these outcomes are produced.
  • Providing Latest Research on Gender Equality:It highlight the strong correlation between a country’s gender gap and its economic performance and summarizes some of the latest research on the case for gender equality.
  • Message to Policy-Makers:The report highlights the message to policy-makers that countries that want to remain competitive and inclusive will need to make gender equality a critical part of their nation’s human capital development.\

World Economic Forum

  • Established in 1971 by Klaus Schwa, as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Important Reports Published by WEF

  • Global Competitiveness Report
  • Global Risk Report
  • Global Travel and Tourism Report
  • Global Information Technology Report

Human Development Report – 2019

  • On 9th December, 2019, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released the Human Development Report (HDR), 2019.
  • The HDR, 2019 entitled “Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: inequalities in human development in the 21st Century,”says that just as the gap in basic living standards is narrowing for millions of people, the necessities to thrive have evolved.
  • The 2019 Report retains all the composite indices from the family of human development indices—the Human Development Index (HDI), the Inequality
  • adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI), the Gender Development Index (GDI), the Gender Inequality Index (GII) and the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).

Major Findings

Top and Worst Performers

  • Globally, Norway, Switzerland, Ireland occupied the top three positionson the 2019 Human Development Index (HDI respectively.
  • Germany is placed fourth along with Hong Kong, and Australia secured the fifth rank on the global ranking.
  • While, Niger, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Chad and Burundi have the lowest scores in the HDI's measurement of national achievements in health, education and income.

India and its Neighbouring Countries Performance

  • India ranks 129 out of 189 countries on the 2019, HDI — up one slot from the 130th position last year i.e. 2018.
  • Between 1990 and 2018, India’s HDI value increased by 50 percent (from 0.431 to 0.647), which places it above the average for countries in the medium human development group (0.634) and above the average for other South Asian countries (0.642).
  • Among India's neighbours, Sri Lanka (71) and China (85) are higher up the rank scale while Bhutan (134), Bangladesh (135), Myanmar (145), Nepal (147), Pakistan (152) and Afghanistan (170) were ranked lower on the list.
  • In the Gender Inequality Index (GII), India is at 122 out of 162 countries.China (39), Sri Lanka (86), Bhutan (99), Myanmar (106) were placed above India.

  Source: ToI

 Regional Performance

  • As per the report, South Asia was the fastest growing region in human development progress witnessing a 46% growth over 1990-2018, followed by East Asia and the Pacific at 43%.

Significance of Report

  • Focus on Inequalities: The HDR, 2019 is significant because it focuses on inequalities in development. It shows inequalities beyond income which exist in society. It gives us a much broader understanding of the factors shaping unequal life chances, from birth and through life.
  • Opening of New Generation of Inequalities: The report warns that new forms of inequalities will manifest in future through climate change and technological transformation which have the potential to deepen existing social and economic fault lines.
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Still Too Far: It notes that the world is not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030 as per the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. With the current development scenario, it may take 202 years to close the gender gap in economic opportunity.
  • Focus on Gender Inequality: The report presents a new index indicating how prejudices and social beliefs obstruct gender equality, which shows that only 14% of women and 10% of men worldwide have no gender bias.

Human Development Index(HDI)

  • The HDI is a statistical tool used to measure a country's overall achievement in its social and economic dimensions. Nations that rank higher on this index have a higher level of education, a higher lifespan, and a higher gross national income per capita than nations with a lower score.
  • The HDI was first launched in 1990 and has been released annually ever since, with the exception of 2012.


  • Longevity: It is measured by life expectancy at birth. Life expectancy at birth means how many years a newly born infant can hope to live in this world. This represents element of health in the Human Development Index (HDI).
  • Education or Knowledge: It is measured by the weighted average of adult literacy and mean years of schooling. For this 2/3rd weight is given to adult literacy and 1/3rd weight is given to the mean years of schooling.
  • Standard of Living: It is measured by real per capita income of a country at purchasing power parity (PPP) prices, which is, adjusted for purchasing power of currencies of different countries.


  • HDI is one of the best tools to keep track of the level of development of a country, as it combines all major social and economic indicators that are responsible for economic development.


  • It omits several factors that can have a significant influence on quality of life, such as environmental degradation. Industrial pollution and deforestation, for example, can lead to complex health problems (e.g. lymphatic filariasis) or mental health conditions that do not necessarily have an impact on mortality rates but which can severely impair one’s mobility or quality of living.
  • On the other hand, for estimating literacy rate, expected years of schooling by children at the entrance age is used which overstates the literacy rate as in many countries (including India) many children who join primary school later drop out at some stage.
  • Besides, human development index still does not take into account social, economic and political freedoms as well as human rights.

Consumer Expenditure Survey

  • Recently, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) decided not to release the results of the all-India Household Consumer Expenditure Survey conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) during 2017-2018.
  • It asserted that any findings from the survey that had been referred to in media reports were essentially “draft in nature”.

Reason for withholding Data

  • A media leak has revealed that the 2017-18 Consumer Expenditure Survey the results had been withheld due to the adverse findings in the survey which showed consumer spending was falling.
  • There was a significant increase in the divergence in not only the levels in the consumption pattern but also the direction of the change when compared to the other administrative data sources like the actual production of goods and services.
  • Survey lacks ability to capture consumption of social services by households, especially on health and education.
  • According to the leaked version of the 2017-18 survey, the data revealed a decline in the Per Capita Consumer Expenditure(MPCE), making it the first such drop since 1972-73. In real terms (adjusted for inflation) the MPCE slid by 7% from Rs 1,501 in 2011-2012 to Rs 1,446 in 2017-2018.

Government’s Response

  • MoSPI stated that there is a rigorous procedure for vetting of data and reports, which are produced through surveys. All such submissions, which come to the ministry, are draft in nature and cannot be deemed to be the final report.
  • Further, the government referred the matter to a Committee of experts which noted the discrepancies and came out with several recommendations including a refinement in the survey methodology and improving the data quality aspects on a concurrent basis. The recommendations of the Committee are being examined for implementation in future surveys.

Consumer Expenditure Survey

  • The CES is aquinquennial (recurring every five years) survey conducted by the government’s National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) that is designed to collect information on the consumption spending patterns of households across the country, both urban and rural.
  • The last survey on consumer expenditure was conducted in the 68th round (July 2011 to June 2012).
 Source: The Hindu
Significance of CES
  • Estimation of Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure: The data gathered in this survey reveals the average expenditure on goods (food and non-food) and services and helps generate estimates of household Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure (MPCE) as well as the distribution of households and persons over the MPCE classes.
  • Assessing Living Standards and Growth: The estimates of monthly per capita consumption spending are vital in gauging the demand dynamics of the economy as well as for understanding the shifting priorities in terms of baskets of goods and services, and in assessing living standards and growth trends across multiple strata.
  • Important Analytical and Forecasting Tool: It is an invaluable analytical as well as forecasting  tool for the  policymakers to spot and address possible structural anomalies that may cause demand to shift in a particular manner in a specific socio-economic or regional cohort of the population. It is, in fact, used by the government in rebasing the GDP and other macro-economic indicators.
National Statistical Office (NSO)
  • The NSO is responsible for conduct of large scale sample surveys in diverse fields on All India basis. Primarily data are collected through nation-wide household surveys on various socio-economic subjects, Annual Survey of Industries (ASI), etc.
  • It also  collects data on rural and urban prices and plays a significant role in the improvement of crop statistics through supervision of the area enumeration and crop estimation surveys of the State agencies.  It also maintains a frame of urban area units for use in sample surveys in urban areas.

Final Word

  • If there were data quality issues, it would have been discovered long before the report was drafted. Even assuming severe inconsistencies in the data collected, the right course would have been to publish a report with the findings and the perceived limitations, which could have been of use to researchers.
  • There is still legitimate concern that the draft report must be published because the government has spent millions of rupees collecting the data and hence is obliged to publish it. The government’s decision to with hold the survey’s findings deprives policymakers of invaluable contemporary consumption data that would have helped drive their intervention strategies.
  • The next survey’s findings,depending on when the Ministry decides to actually undertake it, 2020-21 or 2021-22 — would end up coming after 9 or 10 years after the 2011-12 round.
  • Further, India, as a subscriber to the International Monetary Fund’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), is obliged to follow good practices in four areas in disseminating macroeconomic statistics to the public- 1) the coverage, periodicity, and timeliness of data, 2) public access to those data, 3) data integrity, 4) data quality.
  • With the IMF’s ‘Annual Observance Report’ for 2018 already having flagged concerns about India’s delays in releasing economic data, India risks violating its SDDS obligations.
  • This suppression of essential data is terrible for accountability and for ensuring that citizens have the benefit of official data collection that is paid for with their taxes. It is also counterproductive for the government, which may be kept in the dark about actual trends in the economy and therefore not be able to devise appropriate policies. Undermining the objectivity and credibility of an independent statistical system is fundamentally against the national interest.

Annual Report On Road Accidents In India – 2018

  • On 19th November, 2019, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway released the Road Accidents in India- 2018.
  • It is an annual publication brought out by the Transport Research Wing of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways which reports on accidents, related deaths and injuries, calendar year-wise, based on information supplied by the Police Departments of States and UTs.

Major Findings

Increase in Road Accidents

  • Road accidents in the country have increased marginally by 0.46 % during 2018.
  • More than 1.5 lakh people lost their lives in road crashes in the country in 2018, registering an increase of 2.4% as compared to the year before, when there were 1.47 lakh fatalities.

Decrease Compound Annual Growth Rate of Accidents

  • The Compound annual growth rate of accidents as well as accident related deaths in the period 2010-2018 dropped drastically and was the least when compared with the previous decades, despite the very high rate of growth of automobiles.

National and State Highways Accidents

  • National Highways accounted for 2 percent of total road accidents and 35.7 per cent of deaths in 2018.
  • State Highways accounted for 2 percent and 26.8 percent of accidents and deaths respectively.

Type of Road Users Accident

  • In terms of accident related killings by type of road user, the number of Pedestrians killed accounted for 15%, the share of cyclists was 2.4% and that of two wheelers was 36.5%.
  • Together these categories explain 9% of the accident related killings and are the most vulnerable category quite in line with global trends.

Age-Group Related Accidents

  • During 2018, young adults in the age group of 18 - 45 years accounted for nearly 69.6 percent of road accident victims.
  • The working age group of 18 – 60 accounted for a share of 84.7 percent in the total road accident deaths.

Male More Prone to Accident

  • The share of males in number of total accident deaths was 86% while the share of females hovered around 14% in 2018.

State Scenario

  • The State of Tamil Nadu recorded the highest number of road accidentsin 2018 while the highest numbers reported as killed in 2018 were in the State of Uttar Pradesh.

Source: The Hindu

Major Causes of Road Accidents


  • It is the most common cause of deaths on roads in India, accounting for 64 percent of road deaths.

Drink Driving

  • Another common cause of road accidents in India. However, there has been a decline in drink driving cases by 14 percent between 2017 and 2018.

Non-uasge of Safety Gears

  • Non usage of safety devices such as helmets and seatbelts do not cause accidents but are critical for averting fatal and grievous injuries in an event road accident occurs.

Poor Enforcement Of Traffic Laws

  • India’s traffic laws are stricter than those of other countries but these laws are not enforced.
  • India’s enforcement of laws on speeding and drink driving are rated 3 and 4 out of 10, respectively, compared to 8 and 9 in China by the Global Road Safety Report 2018.

Poor Road Infrastructure

  • The problem of poorly constructed roads is long engraved in India, both in the rural as well rural areas.Potholes, roads under construction, poorly concreted speed breakers and down-and-out drainage system on the roads, improper warning signs are a cause of increasing accidents, deaths and health problems in the country.


  • Vehicle overloading is another major cause of accidents in Indiawhich poses serioustraffic hazard, risking itself and other road users.


  • Adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain, thick fog and hail storm saffects both the road surface condition and the visibility of the motorist, thereby increasing the chances of accidents.

Government Initiatives towards Road Safety

Motor Vehicles Amendment Act- 2019

  • Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act-2019 which amends the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988,came into force from 1st September, 2019.
  • The act is intended to bring reforms in the area of road safety, bring citizen facilitation, transparency, and reduce corruption with the help of information technology and removing intermediaries.
  • The Act will help strengthening the public transport, safeguard and protect Good Samaritan and bring in reforms in the insurance and compensation regime.
Read: Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019

National Road Safety Policy-2017

  • It outlines various policy measures such as promoting awareness, encouraging safer road infrastructure including application of intelligent transport, enforcement of safety laws trauma care etc.

Mitigation Measures

Education and Awareness Measures

  • It relies on dissemination of road safety awareness and regulation through media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
  • The Ministry has been making various efforts to make road safety a social Movement. The Government has been undertaking various publicity measures in the form of telecasting on T.V, Radio, Cinema, printing calendars with road safety messages as also by conducting seminars &exhibitions on road safety with messages for various segments of road users viz. Pedestrians, cyclists, school children, heavy vehicle drivers, etc.

 Engineering (both of roads and vehicles) Measures

  • High Priority has been accorded for identification and rectification of black spots (accidents prone spots on National Highways). Concerted efforts towards improvement of road safety through engineering measures on National Highways have been made.

Road Safety Audits

  • Detailed guidelines for taking up road safety audits on National Highways have been notified. Road Safety Audits at different stages have been made part and parcel of all road development projects on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) and Build, Operate, Transfer (BOT) modes.

Proper Enforcement of Road Safety Laws

  • Through Motor Vehicle Amendment act, 2019, government is avid regarding the enforcement of traffic rules, which are extremely important components of road safety and accident mitigation measures.

Way Forward

  • Expansion in road network, motorization and urbanization in the country has been accompanied by a rise in road accidents leading to road traffic injuries and fatalities as a majordevelopmental issue and a public health concernin India.
  • While India has less than 3 percent of the world’s vehicles, it accounts for about 12 percent of the world’s road deaths.
  • Containing road accidents needs to be a multi-sectoral effort that involves law enforcement, governance, (the issue of driving licenses and vehicle registration), engineering (appropriate road design) awareness raising and post-accident trauma care and management.


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