Current Affairs - Survey And Index

Working Group On Core Investment Companies

  • On 6th November, 2019, Working Group (WG) on Core Investment Companies (CICs) submitted its final report to the Reserve bank of India (RBI).
  • The working Group was constituted by RBI under the chairmanship of former corporate affairs secretary Tapan Ray, to review the regulatory and supervisory framework applicable to


  • To strengthen the corporate governance framework of CICs.


  • In August 2010, the Reserve Bank introduced a separate framework for the regulation of systemically important CICsrecognizing the difference in the business model of a holding company relative to other non-banking financial companies.
  • Over the years, corporate group structures have become more complex involving multiple layering and leveraging, which has led to greater inter-connectedness with the financial system through their access to public funds.
  • In September 2018, Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Company (IL&FS), a CIC with over 300 subsidiaries, defaulted on its payment following, was declared as non-performing or bad asset in the subsequent months.
  • In other few cases, it was found that the CIC had lent funds to group companies at zero percent rate of interest with bullet repayment of 3-5 years and without any credit appraisal.
  • Accordingly, as part of the Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies issued for the year 2019-20 on June 6, 2019, Reserve Bank announced to form a WG regarding the CICs. Finally, the WG was constituted in July, 2019.

Term of Reference

  • To examine the current regulatory framework for CICs in terms of adequacy, efficacy and effectiveness of every component.
  • To assess the appropriateness of and suggest changes to the current approach of the RBI towards registration of CICs including the practice of multiple CICs being allowed within a group.
  • To suggest measures to strengthen corporate governance and disclosure requirements for CICs.
  • To assess the adequacy of supervisory returns submitted by CICs and suggest changes therein.
  • To suggest appropriate measures to enhance RBI’s off-site surveillance and on-site supervision over CICs.

Issues Identified by WG

  1. Complex Group Structure: The Section 186 (1) of Companies Act, 2013 (which restricts the Group Structure to a maximum of two layers) is not applicable to NBFCs, which renders opacity to the groups in terms of ownership, controls and Related Party Transactions.
  2. Multiple Gearing and Excessive Leveraging: A CIC can borrow (upto 5 times of its Adjusted Net Worth) to invest in the capital of other CICs in the group. The absence of restriction on the number of CICs that can exist in a group and non-deduction of capital of CICs for their exposures in group companies (including in step down CICs), creates scope for excessive leveraging.
  3. Build-up of high leverage and other risks at group level: It deliberated on the issues pertaining to the aggregate leveragee. amount of borrowings raised by both financial and non-financial entities. It was observed that the standalone leverage of IL&FS was within the regulatory limit.However, when calculated at consolidated level it was considerably high as on March 2018.
  4. Corporate Governance: Currently, Corporate Governance guidelines are not explicitly made applicable to CICs.
  5. Review of Exempt Category and Registration: Currently, CICs with assets below the qualifying threshold (Rs. 100 crore asset size) or CICs without public funds do not requireRBI registration and hence are called “exempted” CICs.This nomenclature occasionally provided unintended credibility to such CICs, as ‘exempted’ by the RBI, and created scope for misrepresentation.
  6. Off-site surveillance and on-site supervision over CICs: Currently, no off-site reporting requirement is prescribed for CICs. Also, submission of Statutory Auditors Certificate is not mandated in respect of CICs, unlike other NBFCs. Till recently on-site inspection of CICs was also not being conducted.

Major Recommendations

Restriction on Numbers of Layers

  • The number of layers of CICs in a group should be restricted to two. As such, any CIC within a group should not make investment through more than a total of two layers of CICs, including itself.

Adjusted Net Worth (ANW)

  • For ANW calculation, any capital contribution of the CIC to another step-down CIC (directly or indirectly) shall be deducted over and above the 10% of owned funds as applicable to other NBFCs. Further, step-down CICs may not be permitted to invest in any other CIC.

Constitution of Group Risk Management Committee (GRMC)

  • Every group having a CIC should have a GRMC, entrusted with the responsibilities of identifying, monitoring and mitigating risks at the group level, periodically reviewing the risk management frameworks within the group and articulating the leverage of the Group and monitoring the same.

Strengthening Governance

  • In order to strengthen governance, WG advocated the need for inducting independent directors,conducting internal audit and preparing consolidated financial statements and ring fencing boards of CICs by excluding employees/executive directors of group firms from its board.

Retention of Registration Criteria

  • It recommended retaining the current threshold of Rs 100crore asset size for registration as CIC.
  • But, the nomenclature of ‘exempted’ CIC should be discontinued by the RBI in all future communications.

RBI to Monitor Offsite Return and Onsite Inspection

  • It recommended that Offsite returns may be designed by the RBI and prescribed for the CICs on the lines of other NBFCs. Annual submission of Statutory Auditors Certificates may also be mandated along with Onsite inspection of the CICs conducted periodically.

Core Investment Companies (CICs)

  • These are Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) which carries on the business of acquisition of shares and securities and holds not less than 90% of its net assets in the form of investment in equity shares, preference shares, bonds, debentures, debt or loans in group companies.
  • Further investments in equity shares in group companies constitute not less than 60% of its net assets.
  • CIC with an asset size of less than Rs100 crore will be exempted from the requirementsof registration with RBI.
  • Due to systemic implications on account of access to public funds (such as funds raised through Commercial Paper, debentures, inter-corporate deposits and borrowings from banks/FIs), CICs having asset size of 100 crore or above are categorised as Systemically Important Core Investment Companies (CICs-ND-SI) and are required to obtain Certificate of Registration (CoR) from the RBI.

Crime In India Report: NCRB

  • Recently, The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released its annual on crime incidents across the country under the title ‘Crime in India-2017’.
  • The new report has largely followed the pattern of the 2016 edition, barring additions in the category of cyber-crimes and offences against the state.

Major Findings

Crime Registration and Rate

  • The number of cognisable crimes registered across the country increased by 3.6 percent between 2016 and 2017.
  • Delhi witnessed the highest crime rate in the country with 1,050 Indian Penal Code (IPC) crime incidents per lakh of the city’s population.
  • Uttar Pradesh topped the crime list with over three lakh FIRs registered in 2017, followed by Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

Offences against State

  • There has been a 30% rise in incidents of offences against the state as compared to 2016. This category includes offences such as sedition, waging war against the country and damage to public property among others.
  • The maximum number of such offences were reported from Haryana followed by UP.

Offences Affecting Human Body

  • A total of 9.89 lakh cases of offences affecting the human body were registered, which accounted for 3% of total IPC crimes in 2017.

Crimes against Women

  • Majority of cases under crimes against women out of total IPC crimes against women were registered under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’ (33.2%) followed by ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (27.3%),Kidnapping & Abduction of Women’ (21.0%) and ‘Rape’ (10.3%).
  • The maximum cases were registered in Uttar Pradesh followed by Maharashtra and West Bengal.

Crime against Children

  • In percentage terms, major crime during 2017 were kidnapping & abduction (42.0%) and cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (25.3%) including child rape.

Crime against SC/STs

  • The incidents registered under the Scheduled Caste Prevention of Atrocities Act saw an increase from 5,082 incidents reported in 2016 to 5,775 in 2017.
  • Incidents of crime related to Scheduled Tribes dipped in 2017 in comparison to 2016.

Economic Offences

  • Out of three specified category of economic offences (viz. criminal breach of trust, forgery, cheating and fraud and counterfeiting), forgery, cheating and fraud accounted for maximum cases.

Sedition Cases

  • The maximum number of sedition cases were reported from Assam (19) followed by Haryana (13). Jammu and Kashmir recorded just one case of sedition while Chhattisgarh and all North East states, barring Assam, recorded zero incident.

Riots Cases

  • Maximum incidents of riots were reported from Bihar, followed by Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Cyber Crimes

  • Around 56% of the cybercrimes registered during 2017 were for the motive of fraud (12,213 out of 21,796 cases) followed by sexual exploitation with 6.7% (1,460 cases) and causing disrepute with 4.6%
  • Most of these cases were reported from Uttar Pradesh followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka with fraud and sexual exploitation as the prime motive behind the crime.
Source: ET


  • The newly published report will be of paramount importance as it would enable policy makers and law enforcement authorities to plan crime prevention strategies and appropriate interventions and measures against the crime.
  • Being the principal reference document for crime statistics in India, it will facilitate evidence based policy making and also provide thinking platform to social scientists, criminologists and officials of criminal justice system in the country.
  • The report is of immense importance to the police, government, and civil society for tracing the crime map of the country, studying its implications, and charting out the future course of action.

National Crime Records Bureau(NCRB)

  • It was set-up in 1986 to function as a repository of information on crime and  criminals  so  as  to  assist  the  investigators  in  linking  crime  to  the perpetrators.
  • It was set up based on the recommendation of the Task force and National Police Commission by merging the Directorate of Coordination and  Police  Computer  (DCPC),  Statistical  Branch  of  BPR&D, Inter  State Criminals Data Branch and Central Finger Print Bureau of CBI.


  • To empower Indian Policewith Information Technology and Criminal Intelligence to enable them to uphold law and protect people.
  • To provide leadership  and  excellence  in  crime  analysis  particularly  for  serious  and organized crime.


  • Create and maintain secure sharable National Databases on crimes and criminals for law enforcement agencies and promote their use for public service delivery
  • Collect and process crime statistics at the national level and create clearing house of information on crime and criminals both at National and International levels

Criticism of Report

  • The report is being criticized for not publishing the data collected under the new sub-heads of death due to mob lynching, murder by influential people, killing ordered by khap panchayat and murder committed for religious reasons.
  • Data on farmer suicides after 2015 are also not published in the report.
  • The NCRB data on crime hide significant variances in case registration of serious crimes such as rapes and violence against women across States, which make it difficult to draw State-wise comparisons.

Way Forward

  • Democracy demands honest communication and transparency. Considerable delay in providing key information to the public can make a dent in the credibility of thegovernment. People deserve to be informed about crucial data that etches the blueprint of their future. It is even more urgent to place facts and figures, when harsh and unflattering, in the public domain.
  • India, in coming future, will play a proactive role in the emerging world order as a key player. This makes it more incumbent on the country to cope with the increasing demand of transparency pertaining to well-researched data. This will serve as the North Star in charting out its growth.
  • Hence, timely publication of crime statistics will end the uncertainty and mistrust that comes with information gap in a democracy. With delay, on the other hand, the rot will start running deep and go metastatic.


Global Tuberculosis Report-2019

  • Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) released the Global Tuberculosis (TB) Report, 2019.
  • The report is based primarily on data gathered by WHO in annual rounds of data collection, and databases maintained by other multilateral agencies.
  • WHO has published a global TB report every year since 1997.


  • To provide a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the TB epidemic, and of progress in the response to the epidemic, at global, regional and country levels, in the context of global commitments and strategies.

Key Findings

India Specific findings

  • 9 percent of the global TB burden of 10 million in 2018 was from India. In 2017, the figure was 27 percent.
  • The total TB incidence rate in India has decreased by almost 50,000 patients over the past one year, even though it accounted for more than a quarter of the global burden of tuberculosis in 2018
  • Incidence per 1 lakh population decreased from 204 in 2017 to 199 in 2018.
  • The number of patients being diagnosed for resistance to rifampicin increased from 32 percent in 2017 to 46 percent in 2018 due to mandatory testing for resistance.

Source: The Hindu

Global Specific Findings

  • Around 66 per cent of that burden came from eight countries: India (27%), China (9%), Indonesia (8%), the Philippines (6%), Pakistan (6%), Nigeria (4%), Bangladesh (4%), and South Africa (3%).
  • Geographically, most TB cases in 2018 were in the WHO regions of South-East Asia (44%), Africa (24%) and the Western Pacific (18%), with smaller percentages in the Eastern Mediterranean (8%), the Americas (3%) and Europe (3%).
  • Drug-resistant TB continues to be a public health threat. In 2018, there were about half a million new cases of rifampicin-resistant TB (of which 78% had multidrug-resistant TB).

Major Concerns

2020 End TB Strategy Still Far:

  • Currently, the world as a whole, most WHO regions and many high TB burden countries are not on track to reach the 2020 milestones of the End TB Strategy. The cumulative reduction between 2015 and 2018 was only 6.3%, considerably short of the End TB Strategy milestone of a 20% reduction between 2015 and 2020.

Finance Issues:

  • Financing for TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment Funding for the provision of TB prevention, diagnostic and treatment services has doubled since 2006 but still falls far short of what is needed.
  • The amount in 2019 is US$ 3.3 billion less than the US$ 10.1 billion estimated to be required in the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Plan to End TB 2018–2022, and only just over half of the global target of at least US$ 13 billion per year by 2022 that was agreed at the UN high-level meeting on TB.

Discrepancy in TB Diagnosis:

  • Despite increases in TB notifications, there is still a large gap between the number of new cases reported (7.0 million) and the estimated 10.0 million (range, 9.0– 11.1 million) incident cases in 2018.
  • This gap is due to a combination of underreporting of detected cases and underdiagnosed (i.e. people with TB do not access health care or are not being diagnosed at right time).

India’s Initiative towards TB Eradication

National Strategic Plan (NSP) 2017 – 2025
  • The NSP, 2017–2025 is a framework to guide the activities of all stakeholders including the national and state governments, development partners, civil society organizations, international agencies, research institutions, private sector, and many others whose work is relevant to TB elimination in India,  which sets out what the government believes is needed to eliminate TB in India.
  • TB-Free India with zero deaths, disease and poverty due to tuberculosis
  • To achieve a rapid decline in burden of TB, morbidity and mortality while working towards elimination of TB in India by 2025.
Nikshay Poshan Yojana (NPY)
  • Launched in April, 2018, it is a direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme for nutritional support to Tuberculosis (TB) patients.The scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme under National Health Mission (NHM). Financial norms of NHM in terms of cost sharing are applicable to the scheme.
  • Under the scheme, TB patients receive Rs. 500 per month for the entire duration of treatment.
International Initiative
  • WHO End TB Strategy
    In May 2014, at the World Health Assembly, governments agreed on ambitious new 20-year (2016-2035) strategy to end the global TB epidemic.
  • It sets targets and outlines actions for governments and partners to provide patient-centered care, pursue policies and systems that enable prevention and care, and drive research and innovations needed to end the epidemic and eliminate TB.
  • A world free of TB. Zero deaths, disease and suffering due to TB.
  • End the global tuberculosis epidemic.
  • 95% reduction by 2035 in number of TB deaths compared with 2015
  • 90% reduction by 2035 in TB incidence rate compared with 2015
  • Zero TB-affected families facing catastrophic costs due to TB by 2035

Way Forward

  • Achieving the global milestones and targets for reductions in TB cases and deaths set in the End TB Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs Target 3.8) requires provision of TB care and prevention within the broader context of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), multi-sectoral action to address the social and economic determinants and consequences of TB, and technological breakthroughs by 2025.
  • The End TB Strategy milestones can only be achieved if TB diagnosis, treatment and prevention services are provided within the context of progress towards UHC, and if there is multisectoral action to address the broader determinants that influence TB epidemics and their socioeconomic impact.
  • In coming years, annual financing for TB prevention and care and for TB research needs to approximately double, access to TB care and preventive treatment needs to expand, substantial costs faced by TB patients and their households must be mitigated.
  • The best investment that countries can make to ensure faster progress towards ending TB is to ensure that TB services are designed and delivered as part of an overall commitment to universal health coverage, built on the foundation of strong primary health care.

India Innovation Index - 2019

  • Recently, the NITI Aayog in collaboration with the Institute for Competitiveness as the knowledge partner released the first ever India Innovation Index (III) 2019.
  • The Index is developed on the lines of Global Innovation Index (GII) and looks into the innovation ecosystem of Indian states and union territories to help policymakers design policies to drive innovation across regions.


  • To provide stakeholders with an effective tool to track the progress of innovation both at national and state level
  • To create an extensive framework for the continual evaluation of the innovation environment

About the India Innovation Index

  • It is an outcome of extensive research and analysis, which looked holistically at the innovation landscape in the country by examining the innovation capabilities and performance of the States and UTs.
  • The index is based on seven pillars which include five enablers and two performance indicators:
  • Enablers Parameters: human capital, investment, knowledge workers, business environment, safety and legal   environment
  • Performance Parameters: knowledge output and knowledge diffusion

Source: NITI Aayog

Need for Index

  • As India is passing through a phase of demographic transition, so India can reap immense benefits if it maintains focus on developing human capital and encouraging innovation.
  • Also, the demographic dividend is not available in all states at the same time. Southern states, for instance, are experiencing a decline in their fertility earlier than the rest of the states across India. The demographic dividend in states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu is expected to close in the next five years. Thus, the capacity to innovate varies spatially across India and so does the area of focus.
  • India is shifting its policy focus on building innovation capacities like other countries in order to gain a greater market share around the world.

Key Highlights of Index

  • The states have been categorized into three categories:
  • Major states
  • North-east and hill states
  • Union territories/Small states
  • Karnataka is the most innovative major state in India. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telangana, Haryana, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh form the remaining top ten major states respectively.
  • Sikkim and Delhi take the top spots among the north- eastern & hill states, and union territories/city states/small states respectively.
  • Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh are the most efficient states in translating inputs into output.
  • Karnataka topped the index among major states in terms of attracting investment, followed by Maharashtra, Haryana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Telangana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Bihar, Jharkhand, and Punjab were the least attractive states for investment.
  • Among North East and the Hill States, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and Tripura were the top three states; while among the UTs, Lakshadweep, Delhi and Goa were the top three regions.
  • The average score of Enablers stand at 18.3 while that of Performance comes out to be 12.8. Since the Enablers outperform Performance, it is evident that the country has not been able to utilise the available drivers of innovation to their maximum potential.
  • Even though India performs relatively well on enablers of innovation, that there is a vast disparity among its pillars. The country performs the best with respect to human capital, while it faces a challenge of investing towards building innovative capacities.

Source: ToI

Significance of the Report

  • Unlocking Innovative Capacities: This report attempts to decipher the innovative capacities for India at the state level. It has been formulated with the intent of better understanding the innovation landscape across India and drawing regional insights to drive data-based decision making.
  • Help to create Conducive Innovative Ecosystem: It will help create a conducive ecosystem for innovation to flourish across the country. Such an index will not only help to devise their own strategy for fostering an innovation climate, it will also enable them to benchmark their performance with other states.
  • Benchmarking Instrument: It is expected that the report will come to be recognized as a benchmarking instrument and an invaluable tool for facilitating public-private dialogue, whereby policymakers, business leaders, and other stakeholders can evaluate progress on a continual basis.
  • Tool for Economic Growth: It can be used by the government to identify the challenges to be addressed and strengths to build on when designing the economic growth policies for the country.

Global Approaches for Measuring Innovation

Bloomberg Innovation Index

  • The Bloomberg Innovation Index analyses each country in a range of areas including education, research and development, and manufacturing.
  • The countries are ranked on the basis of their overall ability to innovate considering seven-equal weighted metrics such as research & development intensity, manufacturing value-added, productivity, high-tech density, tertiary efficiency, researcher concentration, patent activity.

The Global Innovation Index

  • It is published by the Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as co-publishers, and their Knowledge Partners.
  • It consist of two sub-indices-the Innovation Input and the Innovation Outputs.
  • Five input pillars capture elements of the national economy that enable innovative activities: (1) Institutions, (2) Human capital and research. (3) Infrastructure. (4) Market sophistication, and (5) Business sophistication. Two output pillars capture actual evidence of innovation outputs: (6) Knowledge and technology outputs and (7) Creative outputs.

Dubai Innovation Index

  • The Dubai Innovation Index was conceptualized in 2015  as an effort to baseline Dubai's position compared to with 28 leading global innovative cities and to measure the  innovation maturity of Dubai's private sector to achieve sustainable economic growth and identify areas of improvement.
  • The Index takes into account both enablers (as the input) and performance (as the output) as equal contributors towards innovation.

Massachusetts Innovation Economy

  • The Index has been published by the Innovation Institute at the Mass Tech Collaborative annually since 1997.It analyses 22 indicators that covers the following categories:

    -      Economic Impact

    -      Research

    -      Technology

    -      business Development

    -      Capital

    -      Talent

Way Forward

  • The India Innovation Index, 2019 comes at a time when innovation has become a subject of significant concern for policymakers in the country. With India among the fastest growing economies in the world, the next big challenge is to sustain that level of growth for a longer period of time.
  • Understanding the state of innovation at the regional level is also important for policy-making. For a country the size of India, a policy just at national level is not enough. Each state needs to formulate its own policy which caters to its needs and resources. Therefore, for understanding the opportunities and challenges in every state and union territory, there is a need for a robust framework which can be regularly updated to incorporate the progress made by regions.
  • The challenges faced by India due to its pluralistic society and a rapidly growing population are vastly different from the West. With a population of over 1.3 billion, growing at 1.1% a year — India faces scarcity on a large scale across the board: from water and food to oil and gas, to challenges in primary education and basic health care. To overcome these challenges Ina must transform itself from a factor-driven to an innovation-driven economy by efficiently using its existing resources to become a global innovation hub. To be successful in this endeavor, the country must bring about the right institutional, industrial, and policy reforms.
  • Recognizing the role of innovation as a key driver of growth and prosperity for India Therefore, innovation needs to be the focus, if the Indian economy is to make a successful transition from being factor-driven to an innovation-driven economy.

Assam Tea Labour Rights Violation

  • On 10th October, Oxfam India released a report titled - Addressing the Human Cost of Assam Tea, highlighting the issues of violation of labour rights in the tea estates of Assam.
  • The report was published along with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

Key Highlights of the Report

Low Wages

  • Labours of Assam tea estate regularly clock up 13 hours of backbreaking work a day receiving between Rs 110 and Rs 130 a day. This wage is so low that most labours receive ‘Below Poverty Line’ ration cards from the government;

Unavailability of Basic Facilities

  • Indian tea estates are legally obliged under the Plantation Labour Act (1951)to provide decent working conditions, housing, healthcare and education.
  • But the existing condition of housing and sanitation is very poor with dilapidated or non-existent facilities.
  • Absence of basic facilities gave rise to various other problems like water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, typhoid and jaundice.

Awful Condition of Women Labours

  • It is predominantly women who carry out the labour-intensive job of harvesting tea and end up being concentrated in these low-paid jobs. Despite their large numbers, they remain under-represented in trade unions.
  • Inaccessible toilets, inadequate maternal and childcare facilities, inadequate maternity benefits and domestic violence are other major issues being faced by women labours.

Exploitation by Supermarket Brands

  • The report attributed the condition of plantation workers to the relentless squeeze by supermarkets and brands on the share of the end-consumer price for tea. They typically capture over two thirds of the price paid by consumers for Assam tea in India – with just 7% remaining for workers on tea estates.
  • For ex. A 200 gms. packet of branded Assam tea is sold in India for Rs. 68. Of this, less than Rs. 5 is left for workers (using plucking costs as a proxy indicator) while tea brands and supermarkets retain around Rs. 40.

Plantation Labor Act (PLA), 1951

  • It provides for the welfare of plantation labour and regulates the conditions of work in plantations.
  • It applies to all the plantation workers whose monthly wages does not exceed Rs. 750/- per month.
  • It provides that no adult worker and adolescent or child shall be employed for more than 48 hours and 27 hours respectively a week, and every worker is entitled for a day of rest in every period of 7 days.
  • However, the Government of India is planning to subsume the PLA in the Labour Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill, 2019.

 Constitutional Provisions

  • Labour is a subject in the Concurrent List where both the Central and State Governments are competent to enact legislation subject to certain matters being reserved for the Centre.
  • Article 39 specifically requires the State to direct its policy towards securing equal right of men and women to adequate means of livelihood as well as equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
  • Article 43 refers to a living wage and not minimum wage. The concept of living wage includes in addition to the bare necessities of life, such as food, shelter and clothing, provisions for education of children and insurance etc.


Capital: Dispur

  • It is bounded to the north by the kingdom of Bhutan and the state of Arunachal Pradesh, to the east by the states of Nagaland and Manipur, to the south by the states of Mizoram and Tripura, and to the west by Bangladesh and the states of Meghalaya and West Bengal.
  • It get full statehood on 26 January 1950.
  • Assam has conserved the one-horned Indian rhinoceros from near extinction, along with the wild water buffalo, pygmy hog, tiger and various species of Asiatic birds, and provides one of the last wild habitats for the Asian elephant.


  • Highlighting Government’s Effort: The report is significant in highlighting the Assam government’s commitment to increasing the minimum wages of tea plantation workers to Rs 351 met with hurdles of financial viability in the sector.
  • Economic Crisis: The over exploitation by tea brands and supermarkets, combined with rising costs and the impacts of the climate crisis, is contributing to a severe economic crisis for the entire Indian tea industry.

Issues in Assam Tea Industry

Shutdowns of Tea Plantations

  • A considerable number of tea gardens has gone sick due to lack of infrastructure, modernization and efficient management.

Less Production of Tea

  • There are multiple problems being faced by the tea industry such as finance crisis, power problems, labour problems, poor labour schemes, increased revenue tax for tea gardens, increased pollution fee, less transport subsidy etc.,  have altogether put the tea industry in Assam in a hopeless situation, resulting in low production of tea leaves and tea.

Decline in Tea price

  • Due to various causes, the auction price of the tea has seen a steady decline over the years.All the profits from the tea gardens were siphoned off and there was no real or proper reinvestment in improving quality of tea.

Less Availability of Labours

  • Due to low wages and hardship of work, it is tough to find labours, beside the natives and tea tribes who are solely dependent on the tea industry for their daily income and livelihood.

Lack Proper Storage

  • The problem of storing premium quality tea has always been there. Due to delay in transportation and lack of storage facilities, the processed tea gains moisture from the atmosphere and deteriorates in quality.

Climatic Factors

  • Unfavourable climatic conditions for tea plantations owing to scanty or very heavy rainfall have badly affected the tea industry.

Pest Problem

  • Pest problem is another major issue. Bacterial black spotdisease hasbadly  affected many plantations in Assam tea estates.

Others Issues

  • Lack of proper communication for export, limited use of scientific tool or mechanisms, insufficient capital to invest, decline the interest on the agricultural field among the youth, growth of industries, etc. are also seen as the major obstacles to the growth of tea industry.

Suggestive Measures

  • Increasing global demand for Assam tea has raised the hopes of the industry.
  • Venturing into new markets in the global market to regain its demand.
  • Creating favorable export condition and domestic market promotion can also benefit the industry.
  • Improved supply chain and storage management will enhance shelf life.
  • Various management programs should be initiated by the industry as well as by the government to develop the capabilities of the tea executives.

Way Forward

  • The upcoming Occupational Health and Safety Bill, which would help the struggling Assam tea industry be viable and at the same time ensure fair living wages and decent working and living conditions for tea plantation workers and their families.
  • Supermarkets, brands and consumer come together to support the Assam government’s move to provide living wages to workers and to ensuring more of the price paid by the consumers trickle down to them.
  • Tea brands need to improve their transparency and accountability, in line with India’s National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct framework. They must inform consumers about where their tea comes from and how much is paid for it at each stage of the supply chain. It is also important that Indian consumers continue enjoying their cup of tea and at the same time demand fair living wages for workers.

Niti Aayog Releases School Education Quality Index

  • On 30th September, 2019, NITI Aayog along with the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the World Bank released a report titled 'The Success of Our Schools-School Education Quality Index' (SEQI) which evaluates the performance of states and union territories in the school education sector.
  • SEQI used 2016-17 as the reference year and 2015-16 as the base year.


  • To drive policy reforms that will improve the quality of school education.
  • To institutionalise a focus on enhancing education outcomes by driving improvements in learning levels, access, equity, infrastructure and governance processes.

About the Index

  • Developed through a collaborative process including key stakeholders such as MHRD, the World Bank and sector experts, the index consists of 30 critical indicators that assess the delivery of quality education.
  • The index is largely based on the data from the National Achievement Survey(NAS) of 2017-18 and the Unified District Information on School Education(2016-17).
  • West Bengal did not participated in the evaluation process, therefore has not been included in the index.
  • The indicators are categorized as follows:


Category 1: Outcomes


Category 2: Governance Processes Aiding Outcomes

Key Findings of the Report

Large States

  • The overall performance score for Large States ranged from 6 percent for Kerala to 36.4 percent for Uttar Pradesh.

Small States

  • Among the eight Small States, five showed an improvement in their overall performance score between 2015-16 and 2016-17, of which three stood out (Meghalaya, Nagaland and Goa), with gains of 14.1, 13.5 and 8.2 percentage points respectively.

Union Territories

  • All seven UTs showed an improvement in their overall performance score between 2015-16 and 2016-17. Three of them (Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Puducherry) stood out for the size of the increase, with gains of 16.5, 15.0 and 14.3 percentage points, respectively

Outcomes Category Performance

  • Karnataka leads the Large States on the Outcomes category, with a score of 81.9 percent. Uttar Pradesh scores the lowest at 34.1 percent.
  • Tamil Nadu was the top performer in access and equity outcomes.
  • Haryana had the best infrastructure and facilities.
  • Manipur ranks first among the Small States on the Outcomes category, with a score of 82.1 percent. Arunachal Pradesh has the lowest score at 27.2 percent.
  • Chandigarh is the best performing UT on the Outcomes category, with a score of 88.4 percent, while Lakshadweep received the lowest score (28.9 percent)

Governance Processes Aiding Category Outcomes Performance

  • Kerala leads the Large States in this category, with a score of 79.0 percent, while Jharkhand has the lowest score of 21.0 percent.
  • Mizoram ranks first among Small States, with a score of 47.5 percent, while Arunachal Pradesh ranks last with a score of 18.3 percent.
  • Chandigarh is the best-performing UT, with a score of 69.5 percent, while Dadra & Nagar Haveli received the lowest score of 33.5 percent.

Source: NITI Aayog


  • The rankings present incredible insights on the status of school education across States/UTs and their relative progress over time SEQI assigns almost half its weight to learning outcomes. This sends a strong signal across the nation to ensure the focus remains centred on learning.
  • It focuses on indicators that drive improvements in the quality of education rather than on inputs or specific processes. The index thus seeks to institutionalise a focus on improving education outcomes with respect to learning, access, equity and governance in India.
  • It put emphasis to bring an ‘outcomes’ focus to education policy by providing States and UTs with a platform to identify their strengths and weaknesses and undertake requisite course corrections or policy interventions.
  • It present a vision to ensure that our school education system reorients its priorities on enhancing learning outcomes, along with strengthening governance processes.

Challenges to Education Sector

  • Dearth of Finance: Funds are the major reasons for the education problem in India. Shrinking allocation to education in government budgets have led to a funding crunch in public higher education in India. The demand for financial resources far exceeds the supply. Very small amount is available for innovative programs and ideas.
  • Low Enrolment: Enrolment rates are obviously higher in urban areas. Hence, this implies that rural enrolment is poor. The problem of students dropping out, and absenteeism, is particularly acute in BIMARU states—Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh —that together have over 51 million children, or 46% of India’s total child population between the ages of 11 and 16 years.
  • Low Quality: The quality of education provided to children in India is on a downward spiral, especially in rural areas and government run school. In addition, the mushrooming of private institutions has led to a situation where degrees are awarded by poorly regulated entities
  • Lack of Adequate Infrastructure: Despite the government’s best efforts to bring our education sector on par with the international standards, it’s the inadequate infrastructure that holds it back. The schools in rural India have really poor infrastructure. There is a huge lack of teachers, especially well-trained ones which disturbs the student-teacher ratio extensively. This leads to very poor quality of education being imparted, hardly fulfilling the need of education.

Way Forward

  • Education is the backbone of our nation. It is an instrument to national human resource Listed among the fastest growing economies in the world, India stands way behind in the line, when it comes to education.Howevder, in the recent years , government has tried its best to strengthen the education system in the country.
  • In July, 2019, the government came out with the National Education Policy, 2019 , which envisions an India-centred education system that contributes directly to transforming our nation sustainably into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society, by providing high quality education to all.
  • In December 2018, the Government of India published that 3.43 million candidates had enrolled in the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 2016-20 scheme. Up to January 24, 2019 as many as 2.53 million candidates were trained under under the scheme’s Short Term Training (STT).
  • In August 2018, Innovation Cell and Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) were launched to assess innovation efforts and encourage a healthy competition among higher educational institutions in the country.
  • In August 2018, Government of India launched the second phase of ‘Unnat Bharat Abhiyan’ which aims to link higher educational institutions in the country with at least five villages.
  • The Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat (EBSB) campaign is undertaken by Ministry of Human Resource Development to increase engagement between states, union territories, central ministries, educational institutions and general public.
  • A high-quality Education system is a pre-requisite for our country to achieve global excellence. For addressing India's Education crisis, it require resolute political leadership with a clear vision for education that is able to unite the forces of government, corporate houses and civil society organisations towards building the nation of our dream.
  • India has a positive demographic opportunity, with half of its population in the working-age group. Needless to say, education is tool required to realise this demographic potential.

Child Well-Being Index

  • On 27th August, 2019, the Child Well-Being Index was released by NGOs World Vision India and IFMR LEAD.
  • The index is a tool designed to measure and track children's well-being through three dimensions of healthy individual development, positive relationships and protective contexts.
  • It captures the performance of each state and union territory on a composite child well-being score.

Key Findings

  • Among states, Kerala (0.76), Tamil Nadu (0.67) and Himachal Pradesh (0.67) bagged the top three slots in the index.
  • Kerala bagged the top spot due to its exceptional performance in health, nutrition and education facilities.
  • Kerala also performed better in addressing malnutrition and ensuring child survival and access to a healthy environment in terms of clean drinking water and sanitation facilities.
  • Meghalaya (0.53), Jharkhand (0.50) and Madhya Pradesh (0.44) featured at the bottom.
  • For Jharkhand, child survival, nutrition and access to water and sanitation are the key areas that need to be focused on, to improve its score.
  • Low performance in the areas of child survival, nutrition, crimes against children and juvenile crimes, brought the scores down for Madhya Pradesh.
  • Among the union territories, Puducherry led the way with a score of 0.77 and Dadra andNagar Haveli featured at the other end with a score of 0.52


  • The report highlights the multi-dimensional approach towards measuring child well-being- going beyond mere income poverty
  • According to the NITI Aayog, theindex is a crucial that can be mined both by the Government and civil organisations to achieve the goal of child well-being in the country.

Challenges towards Child Well-Being


  • India has the maximum number of malnourished children in the world – 1 in every 3 children is malnourished. According to the National Family Health Survey(NFHS), India has unacceptably high levels of stunting, despite marginal improvement over the years. In 2015-16, 38.4% of children below five years were stunted and 35.8% were underweight. Despite increase in food production, the rate of malnutrition in India remains very high.

Health Issues

  • The NFHS results show that over 58% of children below five years of age are anaemic, that is, they suffer from insufficient haemoglobin in the blood, leaving them exhausted, vulnerable to infections, and possibly affecting their brain development.According to the UNICEF, water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea and respiratory infections are the number one cause for child deaths in India. Further, poor sanitation system especially in rural areas impairs the health leading to high rates of malnutrition and productivity losses.

Child Labour

  • As per the National Census 2011, there are close to 10.1 million child labourers in India, in the age group of 5 to 14 years.According to UNICEF, child labour in India has merely shifted from factories to employee homes and children are still engaged in harmful industries such as bidi, fireworks, brick kilnsproduction.

Child Trafficking

  • Child trafficking is a serious problem that is prevalent not only India but round the world.The majority of India’s trafficking problem is internal, and those from the most disadvantaged social strata. Girls from excluded groups are most vulnerable.These children are trafficked for various reasons such as labour, begging, and sexual exploitation.According to the national Crime Record Bureau(NCRB), three in five persons trafficked in 2016 were children (below 18 years).Of these, 4,911 (54%) were girls and the rest were boys.

Child Abuse

  • One of the biggest social stigmas attached to a society is that of child abuse. A child can be abused physically, sexually or mentally. It can be in the form of injury, neglect or negligent treatment, blaming, forced sexual stimulation and activity, incest exploitation and sexual abuse.

Child Poverty

  • Poverty in India has been cited as one of the main reasons why millions of children do not get access to the rights they are entitled to. India consists of 30.3 per cent of extremely poor children living across the world.Close to 9.97 crore children in India live in poverty-stricken conditions.

Child marriage

  • Despite having a law against child marriages for the last 90 years, child marriages are a reality in our country. As per statistics, child marriages account for 27 per cent of marriages in India, The incidences of child marriages, especially of minor girls, are higher amongst the socially, economically and educationally backward sections.Child marriage is a violation of child rights, and has a negative impact on physical growth, health, mental and emotional development, and education opportunities.

Way Forward

  • Children are the assets for tomorrow’s productivity up on which depends the growth and development of country.The well-being of children is a critical component of human development.
  • The government along with the stakeholders involved must work in the right direction to ensure that children have access to adequate nutrition, good health, and education, sanitation and clean water in order to provide them with a quality life and the rights,which they are entitled to under the constitution of India.

Composite Water Management Index 2.0

On 23rd August, 2019, the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog released the 2nd edition of Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) 2.0.

  • This index has been prepared by NITI Aayog in partnership with Ministry of Jal Shakti, Ministry of Rural Development and all the States/ Union Territories.


  • To keep tab on the momentum on management of water.
  • To supplement the efforts of Jal Shakti Ministry towards Jal Sanchay, Jal Sanrakshan and Jal Sinchan across the country.

About the CWMI 2.0

  • The CWMI-2019 measures the performance of States on a comprehensive set of water indicators and reports relative performance in 2017-18 as well as trends from previous years (2015-16 & 2016-17).
  • The Index comprises of 9 themes, and covers 25 states and 2 UTs.

  • The nine themes are further sub-divided into 28 indicators which account for equal weightages within respective themes.
  • Critical areas such as source augmentation; major and medium irrigation; watershed development; participatory irrigation practices; sustainable on-farm water use practices; rural drinking water; urban water supply and sanitation; and policy & governance have been accorded high priority.

Composite Water Management Index (CWMI)

  • In 2018, NITI Aayog developed the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) to enable effective water management in Indian states in the face of extreme water stress.


  • To establish a clear baseline and benchmark for state-level performance on key water indicators.
  • To uncover and explain how states have progressed on water issues over time, including identifying high-performers and under-performers, thereby inculcating a culture of constructive competition among states.
  • To identify areas for deeper engagement and investment on the part of the states.

Key Findings of the Report

  • Gujarat hold on to its rank one in the reference year (2017-18), followed byAndhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • In North Eastern and Himalayan States, Himachal Pradesh has been adjudged number 1 in 2017-18 followed by Uttarakhand, Tripura and Assam.
  • The Union Territories have first time submitted their data and Puducherry has been declared as the top ranker.
  • In terms of incremental change in index (over 2016-17 level), Haryana holds number one position in general States and Uttarakhand ranks at first position amongst North Eastern and Himalayan States.
  • On an average, 80% of the states assessed on the Index over the last three years have improved their water management scores, with an average improvement of +5.2 points.
  • Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar, Nagaland, and Meghalaya still scoreless than 40 points.
  • Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, and Delhi, 4 of the top 10 contributors to India’seconomic output, have scores ranging from 20 points to 47 points.
  • None of the top 10 agricultural producers in India, except Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, score more than 60 points on the CWMI.


  • Tool of Assessment:It is an important tool to track performance in the water sector and take corrective measures timely for achieving better outcomes thereby meeting the citizens’ expectations satisfactorily.
  • Helps in Better Water Management:It would provide useful information for the States and also for the concerned Central Ministries/Departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources. This benchmarking exercise can go a long way in creating a common frame for progress for water in India and also highlight the need for specific improvements.
  • Encouraging Cooperative Federalism: It represents a major step towards creating a culture of data-based decision-making for water in India, which can encourage competitive and cooperative federalism in the country’s water governance and management.

State Water Conservation Models

 Mukhya Mantri Jal Swavlambhan Abhiyan , Rajasthan

  • Launched in 2016, it is a multi-stakeholder programme which aims to make villages self-sufficient in water through a participatory water management approach.
  • It focuses on converging various schemes to ensure effective implementation of improved water harvesting and conservation initiatives.
  • Use of advanced technologies such as drones to identify water bodies for restoration is one unique feature of the programme.

 Neeru-Chettu Programme, Andhra Pradesh

  • Launched in 2015, the programme has a strong emphasis on improving irrigationand focuses on ensuring water supply in drought-prone areas and reducing the ayacut10 gap through scaled-up adoption of scientific water management practices.
  • Repair, renovation, and maintenance of irrigation assets are key activities and completing such activities before monsoons is a priority under the programme.

 Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan, Maharashtra

  • It was launched in 2015-16 with the mission to make Maharashtra drought-free by 2019, and an aim of making 5000 villages water scarcity free, every year.
  • Focus areas under the programme include deepening and widening of streams, construction of cement and earthen stop dams, work on nullahs and digging of farm ponds.
  • The programme also involves geotagging of water bodies and use of a mobile application to enable web-based monitoring.

 Mission Kakatiya, Telangana

  • Launched in 2014, it aims to restore over 46,000 tanks across the state18 and bring over 20 lakh acres land under cultivation.
  • The programme objectivesinclude enhancing the development of minor irrigation structures, promoting community-basedirrigation management, and restoration of water tanks.

Sujalam Sufalam Yojana, Gujarat

  • It focuses on deepening of water bodies before monsoons and increasing water storage for rainwater collection.
  • Its inaugural run was from 1stMay, 2018 – 31st May, 2018. The programme involved desilting of water bodies across the state and encouraged a participative approach.

 Pani Bachao Paise Kamao, Punjab

  • Launched in 2018, it is aimed at checking depletion of underground water.
  • Under this, the farmers are being provided with a fixed electricity quota and receiving INR 4 per kilowatt hour for every unit of electricity saved through direct benefit transfers (DBTs).

Way Forward

  • Scientific management of water is increasingly recognized as being vital to India’s growth and ecosystem sustainability. From policy perspective, water management has four major dimensions: Access, Quality, Sustainability and Efficiency. In order to get better outcomes, each dimension can be developed as a simple index reflecting the performance of the states.
  • The Index and its annual reporting are one step in a long journey towards improved water management, and focus on setting the necessary foundation of a high-quality data culture within federal and state water institutions.
  • Importantly, Government along with states must supplement urgent top-down water legislations with a grassroots management approach that involves local community organizations, NGOs, farmer groups, and industry bodies in ideation and implementation of water related policies and projects and make sure that the index should not just restrict itself to becoming a common platform for water data.

UNICEF Report On Sanitation, Drinking Water And Hygiene

On 18th June, a Joint Monitoring Programme Report by UN organizations on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene has been released by the UNICEF.

Relevance of the News: The report has highlighted the status of sanitation and drinking water availability in India. It evaluates the status of the government efforts in these domains and future areas of focus.

Highlights of the Report:

Positive Achievements of India:

  • India has made great gains in providing basic sanitation facilities since the start of the millennium. India accounts for almost two thirds of the 650 million people globally who stopped practicing open defecation between 2000 and 2017.
  • The South Asian region, including India, accounted for almost three-fourths of the population who stopped defecating in the open between 2000 and 2017.
  • Of the 2.1 billion people who gained access to basic sanitation services over this time period globally, 486 million are Indians.
  • India has increased the percentage of its population with access to a protected drinking water source less than 30 minutes away, from 79% in 2000 to 93% in 2017.

Areas of Concern for India as per the Report:

  • There has been absolutely no growth in the population with access to piped water facilities between 2000 and 2017.Households getting piped water supply have remained stagnant at 44% over the 17-year period.
  • Large inequalities exist between rural and urban areas when it comes to access to piped water facility.
  • India does not have the ability to treat and dispose of safely the large amounts of solid and liquid waste being produced by millions of toilets constructed under Swachch Bharat Mission.
  • Only 30% of the India’s wastewater is treated at plants providing at least secondary treatment, in comparison to an 80% global average.
  • According to the report, the Right to Sanitation implies not only the right to a hygienic toilet but also the right of not being negatively affected by unmanaged faecal waste. This is most relevant to poor and marginalized groups who tend to be the major victims of other people’s unmanaged faecal sludge and sewage.


India Slips 5 Places On Global Peace Index 2019

Why is it in News?

Global Peace Index 2019 Report released on 12th June, highlights that India’s rank has slipped by five places to 141 among 163 countries from previous year.

Relevance of the News: It highlights the state of peace and harmony prevailing in the society and the need of government intervention.

India’s Report:

  • India’s rank is 141 in 2019 which is 5 places down from its previous position of 136 out of 163 countries in 2018.
  • India fares at the fifth place in South Asia.
  • The score for ‘internal conflicts fought’ had the highest rating (at 5) in both India and Pakistan which highlights rising internal disturbances.
  • This year the report has also highlighted the possible effects of climate change on ‘peace’ in the world. The findings include:
  • oIndia scores in the bottom half of the GPI and has significant exposure to climate hazards, with 393 million people in high climate hazard areas.
  • oIndia together with the Philippines, Japan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Pakistan are the nine countries with the highest risk of multiple climate hazards.
  • oIndia has the seventh highest overall natural hazard score.
  • India along with the US, China, Saudi Arabia, and Russia is among the top five countries which have the largest total military expenditure in the world. This means that India spends huge amount on maintaining peace internally and externally.

What does the Report say on other Countries?

  • Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008.
  • Iceland is followed by New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, and Denmark.
  • Afghanistan is now the least peaceful country in the world. Last year Syria was branded as the least peaceful, which is second least peaceful this year.
  • 86 countries improved their score in the 2019 report, while 76 deteriorated.
  • South Sudan, Yemen, and Iraq comprise the remaining five least peaceful countries.
  • While global peacefulness improved for the first time in five years, as per the index findings, the world remains less peaceful than a decade ago.
  • Since 2008 global peacefulness has deteriorated by 3.78 per cent, the report revealed.

Report on South Asia:

  • In South Asia, Bhutan topped the index with 15th rank, followed by Sri Lanka 72, Nepal 76 and Bangladesh 101. Pakistan has been ranked 153rd on the index.
  • Bhutan has recorded the largest improvement of any country in the top 20, rising 43 places in the last 12 years

Global Peace Index (GPI):

  • GPI is a report produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and developed in consultation with an international panel of peace experts from peace institutes and think tanks with data collected and collated by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
  • The IEP is an international and independent think tank and its report covers 99.7 per cent of the world’s population.
  • GPI measures the state of peace using three thematic domains:
  • oThe level of Societal Safety and Security
  • oThe extent of Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict
  • oThe degree of Militarisation.
Showing 31-40 of 42 items.