Household Indebtedness in India: NSS (77th Round) Findings


On 10th September 2021, the National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation released the ‘All India Debt & Investment Survey 2019’.

  • It was conducted during the period January – December, 2019 as a part of 77th round of National Sample Survey (NSS). Prior to this the survey was carried out in NSS 26th round (1971-72), 37th round (1981-82), 48th round (1992), 59th round (2003) and 70th round (2013).

Objective

  • The main objective of the survey on Debt & Investment was to collect basic quantitative information on the assets and liabilities of the households as on 30.6.2018. Besides, the survey gathered information on the amount of capital expenditure incurred by the households during the Agricultural Year 2018-19 (July-June), under different heads, like residential buildings, farm business and non-farm business.

The following indicators were generated from the survey of All India Debt & Investment:

  • Average value of Assets (AVA): The average value of all the physical and financial assets owned per household as on 30.06.2018.
  • Incidence of Indebtedness (IOI): The percentage of the indebted households as on 30.06.2018.
  • Average amount of Debt (AOD): The average amount of cash dues as on 30.06.2018 per household.
  • Average Fixed Capital Expenditure by the households during 01.07.2018 to 30.06.2019

Findings on Household Indebtedness

Incidence of Indebtedness (IOI) as on 30.06.2018

  • Incidence of Indebtedness was about 35% in Rural India (40.3% cultivator households, 28.2% non-cultivator households) compared to 22.4% in Urban India (27.5% self-employed households, 20.6% other households).
  • In Rural India, 17.8% households were indebted to institutional credit agencies only (21.2% cultivator households, 13.5% non-cultivator households) against 14.5% households in Urban India (18% self-employed households, 13.3% other households)
  • About 10.2% of the households were indebted to non-institutional credit agencies only in Rural India (10.3% cultivator households, 10% non-cultivator households) compared to 4.9% households in Urban India (5.2% self-employed households, 4.8% other households)
  • About 7% of the households were indebted to both institutional credit agencies & non-institutional credit agencies in Rural India (8.8% cultivator households, 4.7% non-cultivator households) against 3% households in Urban India (4.3% self-employed households, 2.5% other households)

Average amount of Debt (AOD) per Household

  • Rural Households: Average amount of debt was Rs. 59,748 among rural households (Rs. 74,460 for cultivator households, Rs. 40,432 for non-cultivator households)
  • Urban Households: Average amount of debt was Rs. 1,20,336 among urban households (Rs. 1,79,765 for self-employed households, Rs. 99,353 for other households)
  • In Rural India, the share of out standing cash debt from institutional credit agencies was 66% against 34% from non-institutional credit agencies. In Urban India, the share of outstanding cash debt from institutional credit agencies was 87% compared to 13% from non-institutional credit agencies.

Average amount of Debt per Indebted Household (AODL)

  • Rural India: Average amount of debt was Rs. 1,70,533 among indebted households in Rural India (Rs. 1,84,903 for cultivator households, Rs. 1,43,557 for non-cultivator households)
  • Urban India: Average amount of debt was Rs. 5,36,861 among indebted households in Urban India (Rs. 6,52,768 for self-employed households, Rs. 4,82,162 for other households)

RBI launches Financial Inclusion Index 2021


On 17th August 2021, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched a “Financial Inclusion Index” or FI-Index to measure and improve the extent of access, usage and quality of financial inclusion in the country.

Findings

  • The annual FI-Index for the period ending March 2021 is 53.9 against 43.4 for the period ending March 2017.

Objective of the Index

  • The Financial Inclusion Index (FI-Index) has been created to capture the extent of financial inclusion across the country.

About the Index

  • The announcement regarding the creation of the Financial Inclusion Index was made in the first Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement for 2021-2022 on April 7.
  • The FI-Index has been conceptualised as a comprehensive index, incorporating details of banking, investments, insurance, postal as well as the pension sector, in consultation with government and respective sectoral regulators.
  • The FI-Index will be published annually in July every year.

How it is measured?

  • It captures information on the financial inclusion aspects in a single value ranging between 0-100, where 0 represents complete financial exclusion and 100 indicates full financial inclusion.
  • The FI-Index comprises three broad parameters -- Access (35%), Usage (45%), and Quality (20%), with each of these consisting of dimensions computed based on many indicators.
  • The Index is also responsive to the ease of access, availability and the usage of services, and the quality of services, comprising all 97 indicators.

Unique Features

  • Quality Aspect of Financial Inclusion: A unique feature of the Index is the quality parameter, which captures the quality aspect of financial inclusion as reflected by the financial literacy, consumer protection, and inequalities and deficiencies in services.
  • No Base Year: The FI-Index has been constructed without any 'base year', and as such it reflects cumulative efforts of all stakeholders over the years towards financial inclusion.

The Production Gap 2020


On 2nd December, 2020, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)released the Production Gap Report, 2020.

About the Report

  • The first Production Gap Report was launched in November 2019.
  • Modelled after UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report series and conceived as a complementary analysis, the Production Gap Report revealed that while the pandemic and resulting lockdowns led to “short-term drops” in coal, oil and gas production, pre-COVID plans and post-COVID stimulus measures point to a continuation of increasing fossil fuel production.

Key Findings

  • The report highlights the discrepancy between countries’ planned fossil fuel production levels and the global levels necessary to limit warming to 1.5°C or 2°C. This gap is large, with countries aiming to produce 120% more fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and associated response measures have introduced new uncertainties to the production gap (the difference between national production plans and low-carbon (1.5°C and 2°C) pathways, as expressed in fossil fuel carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions).
  • The fossil fuel production gap will continue to widen if countries return to their pre-COVID plans and projections for expanded fossil fuel production.
  • To follow a 1.5°C-consistent pathway, the world will need to decrease fossil fuel production by roughly 6% per year between 2020 and 2030.
  • Countries are instead planning and projecting an average annual increase of 2%, which by 2030 would result in more than double the production consistent with the 1.5°C limit.
  • Between 2020 and 2030, global coal, oil, and gas production would have to decline annually by 11%, 4%, and 3%, respectively, to be consistent with a 1.5°C pathway.
  • This translates to a production gap similar to 2019, with countries aiming to produce 120% and 50% more fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C or 2°C, respectively.
  • To date, governments have committed far more COVID-19 funds to fossil fuels than to clean energy. Policymakers must reverse this trend to meet climate goals.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a reminder of the importance of ensuring that a transition away from fossil fuels is just and equitable.
  • Countries that are less dependent on fossil fuel production and have higher financial and institutional capacity can transition most rapidly, while those with higher dependence and lower capacity will require greater international support.

Key Recommendations

Six main areas of action for governments could help ensure a managed, just, and equitable transition away from fossil fuels that “builds back better” from the COVID-19 pandemic:

Ensure COVID-19 recovery packages and economic stimulus funds support a sustainable recovery and avoid further carbon lock-in

  • Many countries have begun to make investments in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, green hydrogen, and improved pedestrian infrastructure.
  • But if this is accompanied by significant support for high-carbon industries, COVID-19 recovery measures still risk locking in high-carbon energy systems and development pathways for decades into the future.
  • Governments that choose to invest in high-carbon industries to boost economies and safeguard livelihoods in the short term — perhaps because they see few near-term alternatives — can nonetheless introduce conditions to that investment to promote long-term alignment with climate goals.

Provide local and international support to fossil-fuel dependent communities

  • Each country and region faces unique challenges in a transition away from fossil fuels, depending on their dependence on production and their capacity to transition.
  • Inclusive planning is essential, as is financial, technical, and capacity-building support for communities with limited financial and institutional capacity.

Reduce Existing Government Support for Fossil Fuels

  • Many long-standing forms of government support to fossil fuels — including consumer subsidies, producer subsidies, and public finance investment — stand in the way of a sustainable recovery to COVID-19 and need to be ended.

Introduce Restrictions on Fossil Fuel Production Activities and Infrastructure

  • Restricting new fossil fuel production activities and infrastructure can avoid locking in levels of fossil fuel production higher than those consistent with climate goals. It can also reduce the risk of stranded assets and communities.

Enhance Transparency of Current and Future Fossil Fuel Production Levels

  • A key barrier to aligning energy and climate plans is the lack of clarity on levels of fossil fuel production and planned or expected growth. To improve transparency, countries could ensure that relevant production data are more readily and publicly accessible.
  • They can also provide information on how their fossil fuel production plans align with climate goals, and on their support to the production of fossil fuels.
  • Governments can also take steps to disclose their level of exposure to fossil fuel asset stranding and associated systemic risk, and to require companies within their jurisdiction to do so.

Mobilize and Support a Coordinated Global Response

  • Policies to transition away from fossil fuels will be most effective if supported by countries collectively, as this will send consistent, directional signals to energy producers, consumers, and investors.
  • International cooperation, both through established channels and in new forums, can support a just and equitable wind down of fossil fuels.
  • The Paris Agreement’s global stocktake, nationally determined contributions (NDCs), and long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LEDS) offer opportunities to facilitate a transition away from fossil fuel production through the UN climate change process.
  • International financial institutions can help shift financial support away from fossil fuel production while scaling up support for low-carbon energy.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

  • Founded in 1972 by Canadian businessman and philanthropist Maurice Strong, UNEP is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.
  • Its mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA)

  • It was created during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also referred to as RIO+20 in 2012.
  • It is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment, with a universal membership of all 193 Member States.

Escaping The Era Of Pandemics


  • On 29th October, 2020, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released a report which warns future pandemics will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, do more damage to the world economy and kill more people than COVID-19 unless there is a transformative change in the global approach to dealing with infectious diseases.

Major Findings

Pandemics Emerge from the Microbial Diversity Found in Nature

  • The majority (70%) of emerging diseases (e.g. Ebola, Zika, Nipah encephalitis), and almost all known pandemics (e.g. influenza, HIV/AIDS, COVID-19), are zoonoses – i.e. are caused by microbes of animal origin. These microbes ‘spill over’ due to contact among wildlife, livestock, and people.

Human Ecological Disruption, and Unsustainable Consumption Drive Pandemic Risk

  • The risk of pandemics is increasing rapidly, with more than five new diseases emerging in people every year, any one of which has the potential to spread and become pandemic.
  • Unsustainable exploitation of the environment due to land-use change, agricultural expansion and intensification, wildlife trade and consumption disrupts natural interactions among wildlife and their microbes, increases contact among wildlife, livestock, people, and their pathogens and has led to almost all pandemics.
  • Pathogens of wildlife, livestock and people can also directly threaten biodiversity, and emerge via the same activities that drive disease risk in people.

Reducing Anthropogenic Global Environmental Change May Reduce Pandemic Risk

  • Pandemics and other emerging zoonoses cause widespread human suffering, and likely more than a trillion dollars in economic damages annually.
  • The true impact of COVID-19 on the global economy can only be accurately assessed once vaccines are fully deployed and transmission among populations is contained.
  • Pandemic risk could be significantly lowered by promoting responsible consumption and reducing unsustainable consumption of commodities from emerging disease hotspots, and of wildlife and wildlife-derived products, as well as by reducing excessive consumption of meat from livestock production.

Land-Use Change, Agricultural Expansion, Urbanization Cause More than 30% of Emerging Disease Events

  • Land-use change is a globally significant driver of pandemics and caused the emergence of more than 30% of new diseases reported since 1960.
  • Land-use change includes deforestation, human settlement in primarily wildlife habitat, the growth of crop and livestock production, and urbanization.
  • Destruction of habitat and encroachment of humans and livestock into bio-diverse habitats provide new pathways for pathogens to spill over and increase transmission rates.

Trade and Consumption of Wildlife is a Globally Important Risk for Future Pandemics

  • Wildlife trade has occurred throughout human history and provides nutrition and welfare for peoples, especially the Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in many countries.
  • About 24% of all wild terrestrial vertebrate species are traded globally.
  • International, legal wildlife trade has increased more than five-fold in value in the last 14 years and was estimated to be worth US$107 billion in 2019.
  • The USA is one of the largest legal importers of wildlife with 10-20 million individual wild animals (terrestrial and marine) imported each year, largely for the pet trade.
  • Illegal and unregulated trade and unsustainable consumption of wildlife as well as the legal, regulated trade in wildlife, have been linked to disease emergence.

Suggestive Measures

The report offers following policy options that would help to reduce and address pandemic risk:

  • Launching a high-level intergovernmental council on pandemic prevention to provide decision-makers with the best science and evidence on emerging diseases; predict high-risk areas; evaluate the economic impact of potential pandemics and to highlight research gaps. Such a council could also coordinate the design of a global monitoring framework.
  • Countries setting mutually-agreed goals or targets within the framework of an international accord or agreement – with clear benefits for people, animals and the environment.
  • Institutionalizing the ‘One Health’ approach in national governments to build pandemic preparedness, enhance pandemic prevention programs, and to investigate and control outbreaks across sectors.
  • Developing and incorporating pandemic and emerging disease risk health impact assessments in major development and land-use projects, while reforming financial aid for land-use so that benefits and risks to biodiversity and health are recognized and explicitly targeted.
  • Ensuring that the economic cost of pandemics is factored into consumption, production, and government policies and budgets.
  • Enabling changes to reduce the types of consumption, globalized agricultural expansion and trade that have led to pandemics – this could include taxes or levies on meat consumption, livestock production and other forms of high pandemic-risk activities.
  • Reducing zoonotic disease risks in the international wildlife trade through a new intergovernmental ‘health and trade’ partnership; reducing or removing high disease-risk species in the wildlife trade; enhancing law enforcement in all aspects of the illegal wildlife trade and improving community education in disease hotspots about the health risks of wildlife trade.
  • Valuing Indigenous Peoples and local communities’ engagement and knowledge in pandemic prevention programs, achieving greater food security, and reducing consumption of wildlife.
  • Closing critical knowledge gaps such as those about key risk behaviors, the relative importance of illegal, unregulated, and the legal and regulated wildlife trade in disease risk, and improving understanding of the relationship between ecosystem degradation and restoration, landscape structure and the risk of disease emergence.

Significance

  • The report is published at a critical juncture in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, at whichits long-term societal and economic impacts are being recognized.
  • It provides yet another piece of scientific evidence that our health and society are seriously endangered by the disruption of nature as a result of factory farming, global free trade, and the current system based on unlimited economic growth
  • This report embraces the need for transformative change and uses scientific evidence to identify policy options to prevent pandemics.

Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

  • It is an independent intergovernmental body established by States to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and sustainable development.
  • Established in Panama City, on 21 April 2012 by 94 Governments, it is not a United Nations body.
  • IPBES has a collaborative partnership arrangement with UNEP, UNESCO, FAO and UNDP. Its secretariat is hosted by the German government and located on the UN campus, in Bonn, Germany.

The Commitment To Reducing Inequality Index-2020


  • On 7th October, 2020, Oxfam International along with the Development Finance International(DFI) published the third(previous two in 2017 and 2018) edition of The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index(CRI) Index-2020.

About CRI-2020

  • It is a multidimensional index which ranks 158 countries on their policy performance to reduce inequality.
  • It primarily measures progress on tackling economic inequality, i.e. the gap betweenrich and poor
  • The index has three pillars and 19 different indicators, each of which relates to one policy area that has been found to be critical in reducing inequality: public services (previously known as spending); taxation; and labour.

Key Findings

World Specific Findings

  • Most of the countries near the top of the index are Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD) countries.
  • With higher gross domestic products (GDP), they have much more scope to raise progressive tax revenues because they have more citizens and corporations with higher incomes.
  • Likewise, they have greater scope to spend those revenues on public services and social protection.
  • Norway tops the 2020 CRI Index, notably scoring top on labour rights.
  • At the bottom of the Index is South Sudan, which is new to the index and comes close to last on all three pillars.
  • Vietnam’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been among the best in the world.
  • The low ranking also reflects a failure of policy setting by the government for its citizens: for instance, South Sudan spends six times more on the military and on debt servicing than it does on vital public services, and it collects only around 15% of the tax that it should. This leads to failure to deliver on even the most basic of services.

India Specific Findings

  • Ranked at 129 in the index, India’s health budget is the fourth lowest in the world.
  • Just half of its population have access to even the most essential health services, and more than 70% of health spending is being met by people themselves, one of the highest levels in the world.
  • So far India’s response to COVID-19 has been woeful, with huge numbers of deaths and millions of people forced into destitution.

Fighting Inequality in the Time Of Covid-19

  • The index shows clearly how the majority of the world’s countries were woefully unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has magnified and increased inequalities across the world.
  • The poorest people are least able to isolate, to protect themselves. They are more likely to have pre-existing poor health, making them more likely to die.
  • Women are among the hardest hit economically, as they are more likely to be in precarious work and are also 70% of the world’s health workers.
  • The crisis has also exacerbated racial inequality across the globe.
  • But, there have been significant expansions in health and social protection spending across the world.
  • Many countries have expanded worker rights and protections, particularly through short-time working, sick leave and unemployment benefit. But there have also been sharp rises in unemployment and underemployment, and increased attacks on workers' rights.

Role International Financial Institutions in Response to Pandemic

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has disbursed US$88bn in support to 80 countries and has saved 28 countries $251m in debt servicing payments.
  • The World Bank has pledged US$160bn in emergency funding, mobilized US$6bn for its COVID-19 Fast Track Facility.

Recommendations

Urgent Government Action to Radically Reduce Inequality

  • In response to the coronavirus pandemic, governments must dramatically improve their efforts on progressive spending, taxation and workers’ pay and protection as part of National Inequality Reduction Plans under SDG 10.
  • Spending on public services and social protection needs to be increased and its impact on coverage and inequality improved.
  • There also needs to be systematic tracking of public expenditures, involving citizens in budget oversight.
  • Workers need to receive living wages and have their labour rights better protected.
  • Women and girls especially need their rights to equal payand protection against sexual harassment and rape to be enforced including for vulnerable workers.

Inequality Policy Impact and Analysis

  • Governments, international institutions and other stakeholders should work together to rapidly improve data on inequality and related policies, and to regularly monitor progress in reducing inequality.

Coming Together to Fight Inequality

  • Governments and international institutions should come together in the fight against increasing inequality as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The most urgent policy measures include a global commitment and funding to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines will be free to all countries and expansion in social protection to protect workers in lower-income countries.
  • The international community must support them with Special Drawing Rights,debt relief and global solidarity taxes.

Confronting Carbon Inequality


  • According to a new report titled- Confronting Carbon Inequality, by Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the extreme carbon inequality in recent decades that has driven the world to the climate brink.

Major Findings

The Era of Extreme Carbon Inequality

  • The 25 years from 1990 to 2015 saw a rapid escalation of the climate crisis, as global annual carbon emissions grew by around 60%.
  • Around half the emissions of the richest 10% (24.5% of global emissions) are today associated with the consumption of citizens of North America and the EU, and around a fifth (9.2% of global emissions) with citizens of China and India.
  • The richest 10% of humanity accounted for 52% of the cumulative emissions, depleting the global carbon budget for 1.5C by nearly a third (31%).
  • The poorest 50%accounted for just 7% of cumulative emissions, and a mere 4% of the budget.

Carbon Inequality is driving the World to the Climate Brink

  • The world's poorest 3.5 billion people contribute little to carbon emissions but are most affected by climate impacts like floods, storms, and droughts.
  • Extreme carbon inequality is the result of political choices made over the past 20-30 years.
  • It is a direct consequence of our governments’decades long pursuit of unequal and carbon intensive economic growth.

Unequal Growth and Climate Justice

  • Unequal economic growth slows poverty reduction rates.
  • Unequal growth has another implication: it means that the global carbon budget is being rapidly depleted, not for the purpose of lifting all of humanity to a decent standard of living, but to a large extent to expand the consumption of a minority of the world's very richest people.
  • Women also often experience the impacts of climate change differently from men:whether walking further to collect water, being last to eat during droughts, or assuming most of the household caring responsibilities in the wake of extreme weather.

Tackling Carbon Inequality

  • To limit global heating to 1.5C, global average per capita emissions should be approximately 2.1t/year by 2030.

Recommendations for Economic Recovery from COVID-19

  • The right public policy measures, enacted now, can both cut the emissions and create healthier, more cohesive and resilient societies.
  • In addition to essential measures to rapidly shift energy supply to sustainable renewable sources, governments should consider:
    • Wealth taxes, luxury carbon taxes and wider progressive carbon pricing to fund the expansion of universal social services
    • Ending the tax-free status of aircraft fuel and tax breaks for company cars
    • Public investment to create decent job guarantees
    • Changing corporate governance to curtail company’s short-termism
    • Setting science- and equity-based national targets to reduce carbon emission
    • Developing a wider set of gender-transformative indicators of economic progress beyond GDP, such as New Zealand's Wellbeing Budget
    • Incorporating principles of social dialogue at all levels to ensure the wellbeing of workers in affected industries, women, low-income and marginalized groups.

Ranking Of States On Support To Startup Ecosystems


  • On 11th September, 2020, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry released the second edition of Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems-2019, conducted by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
  • A total of 22 states and 3 Union Territories participated in the exercise, including four states from North East India.

Objectives

  • To help bring to fore progress made by the States/ UTs for promoting Startup ecosystem
  • To foster competitiveness & propel the States/ UTs to work proactively
  • To facilitate States/ UTs to identify, learn and replicate good practices

About States Startup Ranking 2019

Intervention Areas

  • The framework is spread across 7 areas of intervention with a total of 30 action points, as compared to the 38 action points in previous years’ Ranking Framework.

7 Pillar wise Participation of States

  • It cover parameters such as Institutional Support, Simplifying Regulations, Ease in Public Procurement, Incubation Support, Seed Funding support, Venture Funding support, and Awareness and Outreach.

Categorization

  • To establish uniformity and ensure standardization in the ranking process, States and UTs have been divided into two groups.
    • Category X: All other States and UT of Delhi.
    • Category Y: All UTs except Delhi and all States in North East India except Assam.
  • For the purposes of Ranking, States are classified into 5 Categories:
    • Best Performers
    • Top Performers
    • Leaders
    • Aspiring Leaders
    • Emerging Startup Ecosystems

Source: DPIIT

Results

Category X

  • Best Performer: Gujarat (State), Andaman & Nicobar Islands (UT)
  • Top Performers: Karnataka and Kerala
  • Leaders: Bihar, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Chandigarh
  • Aspiring Leaders: Haryana, Jharkhand, Punjab, Telangana, Uttrakhand
  • Emerging Startup Ecosystem: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh

Category Y

  • Best Performer: Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  • Leader: Chandigarh
  • Aspiring Leader: Nagaland
  • Emerging Startup Ecosystems: Mizoram, Sikkim

Source: DPIIT

Significance

  • The ranking will not help the states and UTs, but also the entrepreneurs, and will help in expansion of the startups and launching of new ventures.
  • Implemented as capacity development exercise, it will help to encourage mutual learning among all states and to provide support in policy formulation and implementation.

Startup

A startup venture could be defined as, a new business that is in the initial stages of operation, beginning to grow and is typically financed by an individual or small group of individuals.

An entity will be considered a startup if it fulfils overarching conditions mentioned below:

Entity Type

  • Incorporated as a private limited company (as defined in the Companies Act, 2013) or
  • Registered as a partnership firm (registered under section 59 of the Partnership Act, 1932) or
  • Registered as a limited liability partnership (under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008) in India.

Age

  • 10 years from date of incorporation.

Turnover

  • Must not exceed one hundred crore rupees in any fiscal year.

Nature of Activity

Given that the entity is working towards-

  • Innovation
  • Development or improvement of products or processes or services
  • Scalability
  • Job Creation
  • Wealth Creation

Opportunities for Startups

Indian markets provide numerous opportunities for startups.

  • India’s Large Population: The population of India is a huge asset for the country. By 2020, it is expected that the working age population would surpass the non-working population. This unique demographic advantage will offer a great opportunity to any startup. Various infrastructure issues and the bottom- of the- pyramid market would provide huge opportunities for the startups.
  • Change of Mind Set of Working Class: Traditional career paths will be giving way to Indian startup space. Challenging assignments, good compensation packages would attract talented people to startups. Also, it is seen that several high-profile executives are quitting their jobs to start or work for startups.
  • Huge Investments in Startups: The startup ecosystem is getting substantial support from foreign and Indian investors, who have shown more faith in the industry and have provided funds to help these companies to grow leaps and bounds.
  • Government Initiatives: Government and semi-governmental initiatives are currently supporting startups through infrastructure, financial and technical assistance and easier compliance norms.

Startup Landscape in India

Some key outcomes of the India’s startup growth story as on 31st March 2020 are as follows –

Source: DPIIT

Issues and Challenges of Startups

  • Dearth of Financial Resources:Availability of finance is critical for the startups and is always a problem to get sufficient amounts.Proper cash management is critical for the success of the startups. A recent report paints a gloomy picture with 85% of new company’s reportedly underfunded indicating potential failure
  • Poor Revenue Generation: Several startups fail due to poor revenue generation as the business grows. As the operations increase, expenses grow with reduced revenues forcing startups to concentrate on the funding aspect. Therefore, the challenge is not to generate enough capital but also to expand and sustain the growth.
  • Supporting Infrastructure: Various support mechanisms that play asignificant role in the life cycle of startups which include incubators, science and technology parks, business development centers etc. Lack of access to such support mechanisms increases the risk of failure.
  • Lack of Awareness in Markets: Startups fail due to lack of attention to limitations in the markets. The environment for a startup is usually more difficult than for an established firm due to uniqueness of the product.
  • Complex Regulatory Environment: Starting a business requires a number of permissions from government agencies. Despite the perceptible change in recent years, it is still a challenge to register a company. Further, regulations pertaining to labor laws, intellectual property rights, dispute resolution etc. are rigorous in India.
  • Lack of Mentor ship:Lack of proper guidance and mentor ship is one of the biggest problems that exist in the Indian startup ecosystem. Most of startups have brilliant ideas and/or products, but have little or no industry, business and market experience to get the products to the market.
  • Lack of an Effective Branding Strategy:Absence of an effective branding strategy is another issue that prevents startups from flourishing. Branding is of paramount importance for startups as it gives an identity and occupies a space in the consumers’ minds.

Recent Regulatory Reforms towards Startups

  • Ministry of Corporate Affairs has introduced the Companies Fresh Start Scheme in March 2020 to provide a first of its kind opportunity to Companies to make good any filing related defaults, irrespective of the duration of default, and make a fresh start as a fully compliant entity.
  • As part of the Government of India’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) initiative, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has launched a new integrated Web Form christened ‘SPICe+’ replacing the existing SPICe form. SPICe+ would offer 10 services by 3 Central Govt Ministries & Departments (Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Labour & Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance) and One State Government(Maharashtra), thereby saving as many procedures, time and cost for Starting a Business in India.
  • Introduction of Companies (Incorporation) 5th Amendment Rules, 2019, which provides for new regulations on resemblance with an existing company name, new categories of undesirable names of a company and list of words which can beused only after obtaining approval.
  • The Ministry of Corporate Affairs issued a notification in August 2019 increasing the period in which ESOPs could be granted to promoters and directors(holding more than 10% equity) of startups, from 5 years to 10 years from the date of incorporation and the rebyaligned the provisions of the Companies (Share Capital and Debentures).
  • Amendment in Section 54GB of Income Tax Act w.e.f 1 April 2020 (August 2019).
  • Amendment in Section 79 of the Income Tax Act (August 2019).
  • The investment made by Venture Capital Fund of Category-I Alternate Investment Fund(AIF) in a startup was exempted from the applicability of the provisions of section 56(2)(viib) of the IT Act. This exemption has been extended to all sub-categories of Category-I AIF and Category-II AIF via the introduction of “specified funds” in the said section (August 2019).
  • The Finance Act 2020 provides for amendment in section 80-IAC to provide for income tax exemption to eligible startups for a period of three consecutive assessment years out of ten years vis-à-vis the earlier norm of seven years such that the turnover does not exceed hundred crore rupees.
  • The Finance Act 2020 provides for amendment in section 80-IAC to provide for income tax exemption to eligible startups for a period of three consecutive assessment years out of ten years whose turnover does not exceedhundred crore rupees vis-à-vis the earlier norm of twenty-five crore rupees.
  • Amendment in the definition of a Startup: An entity shall be considered as a Startup upto a period of ten years from the date of incorporation/ registration and turnover of the entity for any of the financial years since incorporation/registration has not exceeded one hundred crore rupees. (February 2019).

Government Initiatives

Aatmanirbhar Bharat ARISE-Atal New India Challenge (ANIC) Program

  • Launched on 9th September, 2020, the Aatmanirbhar Bharat ARISE-Atal New India Challenge (ANIC) Program, launched by the government, is a national initiative to promote research & innovation and increase competitiveness of Indian startups and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

AIM-iCREST

  • Launched by Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in July, 2020, it is an Incubator Capabilities Enhancement program for a Robust Ecosystem focused on creating high performing Startups.
  • It has been designed to act as a growth support for AIM’s Atal and Established Incubators across the country.

National Startup Advisory Council

  • In January, 2020, the government created National Startup Advisory Council to advise the Government on measures needed to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and startups in the country to drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities.

Startup India

  • Announced by the government on 15th August 2015, the initiative aims to build a strong eco-system for nurturing innovation and Startups in the country that will drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities.
  • To achieve the objectives of the Startup India initiative, an Action Plan for Startup India on 16th January 2016. The Action Plan comprises of 19 action items spanning across areas such as “Simplification and handholding”, “Funding support and incentives” and “Industry academia partnership and incubation”.

Make in India

  • Launched in 2014, its ultimate aim is to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub. This initiative facilitates investments, skill development, encourages innovation, protect intellectual property rights to achieve this objective.

Mudra Yojna

  • Through this scheme, startups get loans from the banks to set up, grow and stabilize their businesses.

SETU (Self-Employment and Talent Utilization) Fund

  • Government has allotted Rs 1,000 Cr in order to create opportunities for self-employment and new jobs mainly in technology-driven domains.

E-Biz Portal

  • Government launched e-biz portal that integrates 14 regulatory permissions and licenses at one source to enable faster clearances and improve the ease of doing business in India.

Way Forward

  • Startups are currently an important asset that needs to be supported through fast-paced infrastructure growth. Additionally, the government must push banks and other financial institutions to give low-interest loans to innovative startups. These startups must be given free training so that they can survive the competitive market.
  • India has a huge demographic base. The lack of necessary skills and education are preventing India from realising the human capital’s potential. Reforms in these aspects is a need of the hour.
  • As part collective initiative, the Centre and States would need to work together and build required infrastructure, dedicated system, pool of intellect and financial resources for all age groups.
  • Reforms must be made to the current restrictive legislative structure and regulatory norms in a way that allows the startups to flourish and develop across the country.

Global Energy Review-2020


  • On 1st May, 2020, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report Global Energy Review, detailing the impact of Covid-19 on global energy demands and CO2 emissions.

Key Findings

Global Energy Scenario

Coal

  • Global coal demand was hit the hardest, falling by almost 8% compared with the first quarter of 2019.
  • Three reasons converged to explain this drop. China – a coal-based economy – was the country the hardest hit by Covid19; cheap gas and continued growth in renewables elsewhere challenged coal; and mild weather also capped coal use.

Oil

  • As a consequence of global lockdown measures,
  • Road transport in regions mobility – 57% of global oil demand – has declined at an unprecedented scale.with lockdowns in place has dropped between 50% and 75%, with global average road transport activity almost falling to 50% of the 2019 level by the end of March 2020.

Natural Gas

  • The impact of the pandemic on gas demand was more moderate, at around 2%, as gas-based economies were not strongly affected in the first quarter of 2020.

Renewable Energy

  • Renewable energy has so far been the energy source most resilient to Covid19 lockdown measures
  • Renewable electricity has been largely unaffected while demand has fallen for other uses of renewable energy and the total global use of renewable energy is expected to rise by 1 per cent by 2020.

Electricity

  • Lockdown measures have significantly reduced electricity demand, affecting in turn the power mix.
  • Increases in residential demand were far outweighed by reductions in commercial and industrial operations.
  • Demand reductions have lifted the share of renewables in electricity supply, as their output is largely unaffected by demand. Demand fell for all other sources of electricity, including coal, gas and nuclear power.

Nuclear

  • Global nuclear power generation fell by about 3% in Q1 2020 compared with Q1 2019, pulled down by electricity demand reductions.
  • For 2020, it is estimated that nuclear power declines by 2.5% from 2019 due to lower demand and delays for planned maintenance and construction of several projects.

Carbon Dioxide Emission

  • Carbon emissions were five percent lower than during the same time in 2019.
  • This year saw an 8 percent decline in coal emissions, 4.5 percent from oil and 2.3 per cent from natural gas.
  • Emissions declined the most in regions which were impacted the highest by the disease.
  • Overall, the emissions decline in 2020 could be 8 percent lower than in 2019, which would be the lowest level of emissions since 2010 and the largest level of emission reduction — six times larger than what was witnessed during the 2009 financial crisis, and twice as large as the combined total of all reductions witnessed since World War II.

Indian Energy Scenario

  • India, which is one of the IEA association countries, has seen a reduction in its energy demands by over 30 percent as a result of the nation-wide lockdown.
  • Moreover, in India, where “economic growth and power production are slowing significantly”, the demand for coal will decline steeply.

Implications

  • The energy industry is feeling the financial impact throughout value chains, with most energy companies losing substantial revenues.
  • In effect, they are being hit twice, first by lower demand for their products – including oil, gas, coal and electricity – and again by lower prices for these products.
  • The smallest impact is on coal: as the supply chain is less affected by logistical constraints than oil and natural gas.
  • Low prices and low demand in all subsectors will leave energy companies with weakened financial positions and often strained balance sheets.
  • Business lines that are insulated to a degree from market signals, including those with renewable electricity projects, will emerge in the best financial position.
  • Across the energy sector, the Covid19 crisis will have a significant impact on investment. This could raise concerns about energy security because investment is necessary even if global energy demand takes a long time to return to the pre-crisis trajectory.
  • The Covid‑19 crisis is also influencing the path for clean energy transitions.

Suggestions for Policy Makers

  • Policymakers and regulators need to ensure that operational, maintenance and safety expenditures are prioritised and appropriately maintained.
  • Governments will play a major role in shaping the energy sector’s recovery from the Covid‑19 crisis, just as they have long been in the driving seat in orienting energy investment.
  • In particular, the design of economic stimulus packages presents a major opportunity for governments to link economic recovery efforts with clean energy transitions – and steer the energy system onto a more sustainable path.
  • While the clean energy transitions and stimulus discussions are gathering momentum, a co-ordinated policy effort will be needed to harvest its opportunities and lead to a more modern, cleaner and more resilient energy sector for all.

International Energy Agency

  • The International Energy Agency is a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organization established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1974 in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis.
  • Its mission is guided by four main areas of focusenergy security, economic development, environmental awareness and engagement worldwide.

Members

  • Only the OECD member states can become members of the IEA. Except for Chile, Iceland, Israel, and Slovenia, all OECD member states are members of the IEA.
  • Currently, it has 30 members and 8 association countries.

Association countries

  • Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Singapore, South Africa and Thailand

Important Reports Published by IEA

  • Global Energy & CO2 Status Report
  • World Energy Outlook
  • World Energy Statistics
  • World Energy Balances
  • Energy Technology Perspectives

 

Corruption Perceptions Index – 2019


  • On 23rd January, 2020, Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) was released by the Transparency International, which reveals that a majority of countries are showing little to no improvement in tackling corruption.

About the Index

  • First launched in 1995, the Corruption Perceptions Index has been widely credited with putting the issue of corruption on the international policy agenda.
  • The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people.
  • It uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. More than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on this year’s CPI, with an average score of just 43.
  • The 2019 CPI draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Major Findings

Top Performers

  • The top countries are New Zealand and Denmark, with scores of 87 each, followed by Finland (86), Singapore (85), Sweden (85) and Switzerland (85).

Worst Performers

  • The bottom countries are Somalia, South Sudan and Syria with scores of 9, 12 and 13, respectively. These countries are closely followed by Yemen (15), Venezuela (16), Sudan (16), Equatorial Guinea (16) and Afghanistan(16).

Source: Transparency International

Regional Findings and their Challenges

Americas Region

  • With an average score of 43 for the fourth consecutive year on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), the Americas region fails to make significant progress in the fight against corruption.

Challenges

  • The region faces significant challenges from political leaders acting in their own self-interest at the expense of the citizens they serve.
  • Specifically, political party financing and electoral integrity are big challenges.

Asia-Pacific Region

  • A regional average of 45, after many consecutive years of an average score of 44, illustrates general stagnation across the Asia Pacific. Despite the presence of high performers like New Zealand (87), Singapore (85), Australia (77), Hong Kong (76) and Japan (73), the Asia Pacific region hasn’t witnessed substantial progress in anti-corruption efforts or results.
  • India’s ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI-2019) has slipped from 78 to 80 compared to the previous year. Its score of 41 out of 100 remains the same.

Challenges

  • Many countries see economic openness as a way forward, however, governments across the region, continue to restrict participation in public affairs, silence dissenting voices and keep decision-making out of public scrutiny.
  • Opaque political financing, lobbying by corporate interests has caused control of corruption to fall in democracies like India and Australia, notes Transparency International.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia Region

  • With an average score of 35, this region is the second-lowest performing region on the CPI.

Challenges

  • Across the region, countries experience limited separation of powers, abuse of state resources for electoral purposes, opaque political party financing and conflicts of interest.

Middle East and North Africa Region

  • With the same average score of 39 as last year, there is little progress in improving control of corruption in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Challenges

  • The region faces significant corruption challenges that highlight a lack of political integrity.
  • Separation of powers is another challenge.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • As the lowest-scoring region on the CPI, with an average of 32, Sub-Saharan Africa’s performance paints a bleak picture of inaction against corruption.

Challenges

  • Across the region, money is used to win elections, consolidate power and further personal interests.
  • Tackling corruption in the context of fragile states presents unique challenges, as fragility is both a cause and an effect of any downward trends in development.

 

Western Europe & European Union

  • Fourteen of the top 20 countries in this year’s CPI are from Western Europe and the European Union (EU), including nine countries from the EU alone.

Challenges

  • Issues of conflict of interest, abuse of state resources for electoral purposes, insufficient disclosure of political party and campaign financing, and a lack of media independence are prevalent in the region.
  • Most post-communist EU member states are struggling to address corruption effectively.

Recommendations

Transparency International recommends the following measures in order to prevent corruptions and foster the integrity of political systems:

  • Managing Conflicts of Interest: Governments should reduce the risk of undue influence in policy-making by tightening controls over financial and other interests of government officials.
  • Control Political Financing: In order to prevent excessive money and influence in politics, governments should improve and properly enforce campaign finance regulations. Political parties should also disclose their sources of income, assets and loans, and governments should empower oversight agencies with stronger mandates and appropriate resources.
  • Strengthen Electoral Integrity: For democracy to be effective against corruption, governments must ensure that elections are free and fair. Preventing and sanctioning vote-buying and misinformation campaigns are essential to rebuilding trust in government and ensuring that citizens can use their vote to punish corrupt politicians.
  • Regulate Lobbying Activities: Governments should promote open and meaningful access to decision-making and consult a wider range of groups, beyond well-resourced lobbyists and a few private interests. Lobbying activities should be public and easily accessible.
  • Tackle Preferential Treatment: Governments should create mechanisms to ensure that service delivery and public resource allocation are not driven by personal connections or are biased towards special interest groups at the expense of the overall public good.
  • Empower Citizens: Governments should protect civil liberties and political rights, including freedom of speech, expression and association. Governments should engage civil society and protect citizens, activists, whistleblowers and journalists in monitoring and exposing corruption.
  • Reinforce Checks and Balances: Governments must promote the separation of powers, strengthen judicial independence and preserve checks and balances.

Democracy Index-2019


  • On 22nd January, 2020, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) released the Democracy Index under the title-A Year of Democratic Setbacks and Popular Protest.

Democracy Index

  • First published year 2006, Democracy Index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories.
  • It based on the ratings for 60 indicators, grouped into five categories:
    1. Electoral process and pluralism
    2. Civil liberties
    3. Functioning of government
    4. Political participation
    5. Political culture.
  • The category indexes are based on the sum of the indicator scores in the category, converted to a 0 to 10 scale. Adjustments to the category scores are made if countries do not score a 1 in the following critical areas for democracy:
    1. Whether national elections are free and fair
    2. The security of voters
    3. The influence of foreign powers on government
    4. The capability of the civil service to implement policies.
  • The index values are used to place countries within one of four types of regime:
    1. Full democracies (scores of 8-10)
    2. Flawed democracies ( score of 6 to 7.9)
    3. Hybrid regimes (scores of 4 to 5.9)
    4. Authoritarian regimes (scores below 4)

Key Findings

Worst Performance Since 2006

  • The average global score fell from 48 in 2018 to 5.44 (on a scale of 0-10). This is the worst score since the index was first produced in 2006.
  • The decline in the average global score was driven by sharp regressions in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Latin America was the worst-performing region in 2019.
  • The average score for Asia and Australasia, eastern Europe, North America and western Europe stagnated in 2019.
  • Almost one-half (48.4%) of the world’s population live in a democracy of some sort, although only 5.7% reside in a full democracy.

Country Performance

  • The overall list was topped by Norway, followed by Iceland and Sweden, New Zealand and

Full Democracies

  • Three countries-Chile, France and Portugal, moved from the “flawed democracy” category to become “full democracies”.
  • Other “full democracies” include Germany, the United Kingdom and France.

Flawed Democracies

  • The United States, with a score of 7.96 that is just below the benchmark for a “full democracy”, is a “flawed democracy”.
  • India, too, with a score of 7.23, find its place in the “flawed democracy” category, along with the Bangladesh (5.88).

Hybrid Regimes

  • Pakistan, with a score of 4.25, is categorised as a “hybrid democracy”.

Authoritarian Regimes

  • China having score of 2.26 and North Korea (bottom-ranked with 1.08) are categorised as “authoritarian regimes”.

 

SELECTED COUNTRIES, 2019

Country

Score

Rank

Norway

9.87

1

Iceland

9.58

2

Sweden

9.39

3

New Zealand

9.26

4

Germany

8.68

13

UK

8.52

14

France

8.12

20

United States

7.96

25

Israel

7.86

28

India

6.90

51

Brazil

6.86

52

Sri Lanka

6.27

69

Bangladesh

5.88

80

Nepal

5.28

92

Pakistan

4.25

108

Myanmar

3.55

122

Russia

3.11

134

Source: Indian Express

India’s Performance

  • The world’s biggest democracy slipped 10 places in the 2019 global ranking to 51st place.
  • India’s overall score fell from 7.23 to 6.9, on a scale of 0-10, within a year (2018-2019) — the country’s lowest since 2006.
  • The Index categorises India under “flawed democracies”, countries that hold free and fair elections and where basic civil liberties are respected, but have significant weaknesses in aspects of democracy, such as problems in governance, an under developed political culture and low levels of political participation.
  • India was graded in electoral process and pluralism (8.67), government functioning (6.79), political participation (6.67), political culture (5.63) and civil liberties (6.76).

                                                                                                       Source: The Hindu

Causes of Democratic Regression

The primary cause of the democratic regression was an erosion of civil liberties in the country. According to the report, the following events led to Democratic Regression in the country.

  • Revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir with the repeal of Articles 370 and 35 and the various security measures that followed the bifurcation of the state including  deployment of large number of troops, restriction of internet access and  placing local leaders under house arrest.
  • The NRC exercise in Assam excluded 1.9 million people from the final list, and that the vast majority of people excluded from the NRC being Muslims.
  • According to the report, the Citizenship Amendment Act law has enraged the large Muslim population, stoked communal tensions and generated large protests in major cities, across the country.

Full Democracies

  • Countries in which not only basic political freedoms and civil liberties arerespected, but also tend to be underpinned by a political culture conducive to the flourishing of democracy. The functioning of government is satisfactory.
  • Media are independent and diverse. There is an effective system of checks and balances. The judiciary is independent and judicial decisions are enforced. There are only limited problems in the functioning of democracies.

Flawed Democracies

  • These countries also have free and fair elections and, even if there are problems (such as infringements on media freedom), basic civil liberties are respected.
  • However, there are significant weaknesses in other aspects of democracy, including problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation.

Hybrid Regimes

  • Elections have substantial irregularities that often prevent them from being both free and fair. Government pressure on opposition parties and candidates may be common. Serious weaknesses are more prevalent than in flawed democracies—in political culture, functioning of government and political participation.
  • Corruption tends to be widespread and the rule of law is weak. Civil society is weak. Typically, there is harassment of and pressure on journalists and the judiciary is not independent.

 

Authoritarian Regimes

  • In these states, state political pluralism is absent or heavily circumscribed. Some formal institutions of democracy may exist, but these have little substance.
  • Elections, if they do occur, are not free and fair. There is disregard for abuses and infringements of civil liberties. Media are typically state-owned or controlled by groups connected to the ruling regime. There is repression of criticism of the government and pervasive censorship. There is no independent judiciary.

World Employment And Social Outlook-Trends 2020


  • On 20th January, 2020, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) released the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2020 (WESO) report, which examines employment and social trends for the world as a whole and for each region, and analyses structural transformation and implications for future job quality.
  • The annual WESO report analyses key labour market issues, including unemployment, labour underutilisation, working poverty,income inequality, labour income share and factors that exclude people from decent work.

Major Highlights

Global Unemployment

  • More than 470 million people worldwide are currently unemployed or underemployed, warning that a lack of access to decent jobs was contributing to social unrest.
  • Global unemployment has been roughly stable for the last nine years but slowing global economic growth means that, as the global labour force increases, not enough new jobs are being generated to absorb new entrants to the labour market.
  • More than 60% of the global workforce currently works in the informal economy, often toiling for substandard wages and lacking basic social protections.

Declining Global Labour Income

  • Unequal access to decent work translates into high and persistent income inequalities.
  • In high income countries, the decreasing labour income of the self-employed, compared with that of employees, is a key driver of the aggregate decline.

Work Related Inequality

  • Persisting and substantial work-related inequalities and exclusion are preventing the people from finding decent work and better futures. This in turn, has profound and worrying implications for social cohesion.

Decent Work Deficit

  • Significant inequalities in access to decent work opportunities and outcomes continue to be a persistent feature of current labour markets. Decent work deficits are especially pronounced in the informal economy.

Gender Inequality

  • Contemporary labour markets also continue to be characterized by gender inequality. In 2019, the female labour force participation rate was just 47 percent, 27 percentage points below the male rate (at 74 percent). There is strong regional variation in gender disparities in access to employment.

Rising Working Poverty

  • In 2019, more than 630 million people— a fifth of the global working population lived in so-called working poverty, meaning they made less than $3.20 per day in purchasing power.

Trade Restrictions and Protectionism

  • The report cautions that intensifying trade restrictions and protectionism could have a significant impact on employment, both directly and indirectly.

Future Projection

  • According to the report, a moderate or extreme working poverty is expected to edge up in 2020-21 in developing countries, increasing the obstacles to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 1 on eradicating poverty everywhere by 2030.
  • Projected lower economic growth and the lack of inclusiveness are very likely to impair the ability of lower-income countries to reduce poverty and improve working conditions.

Significance

  • The report provides an overview of global and regional trends in employment, unemployment, labour force participation and productivity.
  • This report also presents the labour market situation and prospects of rural and urban workers, which is a key line of segmentation that divides the economic and social prospects among the world’s workforce.
  • It also examines income and social developments, and provides an indicator of social unrest.

Way forward

  • Countries all over the world must ensure that economic growth and development occurs in a way that leads to the reduction of poverty and better working conditions in low-income countries, through structural transformation, technological upgrading and diversification.

International Labour Organization (ILO)

Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

  • The ILO is a United Nations agency, created in 1919, as part of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, to reflect the belief that universal and lasting peace can be accomplished only if it is based on social justice.
  • It is devoted to promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights, pursuing its founding mission that social justice is essential to universal and lasting peace.
  • India is a founding member of the ILO and has been a permanent member of the ILO Governing Body since 1922.

 

Global Investment Trend Monitor Report


  • On 20th January, 2020, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released its Global Investment Trend Monitor Report.

Key Highlights

Global Foreign Direct Investment Trend

  • Global foreign direct investment (FDI) remained flat in 2019, a 1% decline from a revised $1.41 trillion in 2018. It was attributed to weaker macroeconomic performance and policy uncertainty for investors, including trade tensions.
  • FDI flows to developed countries remained at a historically low level, decreasing by a further 6%.
  • FDI to the European Union (EU) fell by 15%.
  • FDI increased by 16% in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Africa continued to register a modest rise (+3%) while flows to developing Asia fell by 6%. Despite a decline, flows to developing Asia continued to account for one-third of global FDI in 2019.
  • There was zero-growth of flows to United States, which received USD 251 billion FDI in 2019, as compared to USD 254 billion in 2018.Despite this, the United States remained the largest recipient of FDI, followed by China and Singapore.
  • In West Asia, FDI flows declined by 16% in 2018.

FDI in South East Asia

  • South-East Asia continued to be the region’s growth engine. It recorded a 10% increase in FDI to $60 billion.
  • The growth was driven by India, with a 16% increase in inflows. The majority went into services industries, including information technology.
  • Inflows into Bangladesh and Pakistan declined by 6% and 20% respectively.

FDI Inflows by Region (2018 and 2019)

Source:UNCTAD

Cross-Border Mergers & Acquisitions (M&As)

  • As per the report, Cross-border M&As decreased by 40% in 2019– the lowest level since 2014. European M&A sales were halved due to slowdown in Eurozone growth and Brexit.
  • Deals targeting United States companies remained significant – accounting for 31% of total M&As.
  • The fall in global cross-border M&As sales was deepest in the services sector, followed by manufacturing and primary sector. In particular, sales of assets related to financial and insurance activities and chemicals fell sharply.
  • The decline in M&A values was driven also by a lower number of megadeals. In 2019, there were 30 megadeals above $5 billion compared to 39 in 2018.

Future Prospects: Growth with Significant Risks

  • FDI flows are still expected to rise moderately in 2020, as current projections show the global economy to improve some what from its weakest performance since the global financial crisis in 2009.
  • GDP growth, gross fixed capital formation and trade are projected to rise, both at the global level and, especially, in several large emerging markets.
  • However, significant risks persist, including high debt accumulation among emerging and developing economies, geopolitical risks and concerns about a further shift towards protectionist policies.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

  • UNCTAD is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964.
  • It is a part of the United Nations Secretariat dealing with trade, investment, and development issues.
  • The primary objective of UNCTAD is to formulate policies relating to all aspects of development including trade, aid, transport, finance and technology.

What is Foreign Direct Investment?

  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) is when a company takes controlling ownership in a business entity in another country.
  • FDI is when an individual or business owns 10% or more of a foreign company. If an investor owns less than 10%, the International Monetary Fund defines it as part of his or her stock portfolio.
  • With FDI, foreign companies are directly involved with day-to-day operations in the other country. This means they aren’t just bringing money with them, but also knowledge, skills and technology.

Where is FDI made?

  • FDIs are commonly made in open economies that offer a skilled workforce and above-average growth prospects for the investor, as opposed to tightly regulated economies. FDI frequently involves more than just a capital investment. It may include provisions of management or technology as well.
  • The key feature of FDI is that it establishes either effective control of or at least substantial influence over the decision-making of a foreign business.

Types

  • Horizontal FDI: A horizontal foreign direct investment refers to the investor establishing the same type of business operation in a foreign country as it operates in its home country. For example, McDonald’s opening restaurants in Japan would be considered horizontal FDI.
  • Vertical FDI: It is one in which different but related business activities from the investor's main business are established or acquired in a foreign country. For example, McDonald’s could purchase a large-scale farm in Canada to produce meat for their restaurants.
  • Conglomerate: It is one where a company makes a foreign investment in a business that is unrelated to its existing business in its home country. An example of this would be if Virgin Group, which is based in the United Kingdom, acquired a clothing line in France.

Advantages

  • Increased Employment and Economic Growth
  • Human Resource Development
  • Improved Capital Flow
  • Increase in Exports
  • Development of Backward Areas
  • Access to Global Technological Developments
  • Exchange Rate Stability
  • Stimulation of Economic Development
  • Creation of a Competitive Market, Consumers Benefit

Disadvantages

  • Uncertainty in Government Policies
  • Loss of Domestic Investment
  • Unethical Access to Local Markets
  • Exploitation of the Resources of Host Countries
  • Profit Repatriation

First Global Social Mobility Report –2020


  • On 20th January, 2020, the World Economic Forum (WEF) released its first-ever Global Social Mobility Report to provide a much needed assessment of the current state of the paths to social mobility around the world.

Aim

  • It seeks to measure parameters necessary for creating societies where every person has the same opportunity to fulfill his potential in life irrespective of socio-economic background.

Need

  • Not with standing fast global growth, inequalities have been growing across the world. The rise of inequality has not only created massive social unrest but also adversely affected the global consensus on the kind of economic policies that countries follow.
  • Social mobility has become the pressing issue of modern life, and as the index highlights, while major improvements have been made in some areas, notably extreme poverty, in others, the situation is deteriorating.

About the Index

  • The WEF’s Global Social Mobility Index assesses the 82 economies on “10 pillars” spread across the following five key dimensions of social mobility:
    • Health
    • Education (access, quality and equity, life-long learning)
    • Technology
    • Work (opportunities, wages, conditions)
    • Protection and Institutions (social protection and inclusive institutions)

Source: WEF

Key Findings

Need for Social Mobility Agenda to Tackle Inequality

  • The Index shows that very few economies have the right conditions to foster social mobility and consequently income inequalities have become entrenched. On average, across key developed and developing economies, the top 10% of earners have nearly 3.5 times the income of the bottom 40%.

Greatest Global Challenges

  • Low wages, lack of social protection and poor lifelong learning systems are the greatest challenges globally.
  • In many countries, the root cause of low social mobility is related to economic development issues that go beyond income—namely, qualityof and access to education, access to work, poor working conditions and health disparities. Digital leapfrogging will not happen unless these issues are addressed decisively.

Fourth Industrial Revolution, Globalization and Technology

  • Globalization and the Fourth Industrial Revolution have generated significant benefits, but have also exacerbated inequalities. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, and with it, continuing and future disruption to labour markets, will likely compound differences in social mobility for those countries unprepared to take advantage of new opportunities.

Increasing Social Mobility

  • If countries included in this report were to increase their social mobility index score by 10 points, this would result in an additional GDP growth of 41% by 2030 in addition to vast social cohesion benefits.
  • Countries that adhere to the “stakeholder capitalism” model tend to perform better than countries with a focus on “shareholder value maximization” or “state capitalism”.

Country Rankings

Top Performers

  • Denmark tops the rankings with a social mobility score of 85.2, closely followed by Finland (83.6), Norway (83.6), Sweden (83.5) and Iceland (82.7).

Low Performers

  • Cote d'Ivoire (82nd rank) is last on the Index preceded by Senegal, Cameron, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Emerging Economies

  • Among the world’s large emerging economies, the Russian Federation is the most socially mobile of the BRICS grouping, ranking 39th, with a score of 64 points, followed by the China (45th), Brazil (60th), India (76th) and South Africa (77th).

Top Gainer in Social Mobility

  • The economy with the most to gain is China, whose economy could grow by an extra USD 103 billion a year or USD 1 trillion dollars over the decade.
  • USA would make the second-largest gains, at USD 87 billion a year.
  • Next is India, followed by Japan, Germany, Russia, Indonesia, Brazil, the UK and France.

India’s Performance

  • India is ranked at 76th out of 82 economies. It ranks 41st in lifelong learning and 53rd in working conditions.
  • The Areas of improvement for India include social protection (76th) and fair wage distribution (79th).

Source: Indian Express

Significance

  • Benchmarking Tool: The index benchmarks a country’s ability to foster social mobility across its population. It measures the extent to which fundamental drivers—both old and new—of equality of opportunity are in place as well as the enabling environment factors that help translate these drivers into actual social mobility out comes.
  • Guidance to Policy-Makers: The Index is designed to equip policy-makers and other leaders seeking to take informed action on a reinvigorated social mobility agenda with a useful tool to identify areas for improving social mobility and promoting equally shared opportunities in their economies and societies.
  • Tool to Improve Social Mobility: It aims to point the way toward the need for establishing a new standard to identify priority policy actions and business practices focused on improving social mobility, as part of a global shift towards stakeholder capitalism and equitable and sustainable economies.

 

Suggestive Measures to Increase Social Mobility

Creating a New Financing Model

  • A new financing model for social mobility is necessary through taxation but must be complemented by a new mix of spending and tailored approaches.
  • Improving tax progressivity on personal income, policies that address wealth accumulation and broadly re-balancing the sources of taxation can support the social mobility agenda.

Forging a New Social Contract

  • Forging a new social contract that provides adequate social protection beyond full-time employment contracts is important across economies.
  • A new policy agenda aimed at creating holistic protections and support for all individuals irrespective of their status in employment is urgently needed.

Improving Education and Embracing Lifelong Learning

  • Countries should consider increasing their spending on education focusing on programmes targeted on disadvantaged children and the youth.

Improving Health Outcomes

  • Public investment in health has the potential to improve social mobility over the life course and across generations—for example, by cushioning income losses or necessary labour market changes when health issues arise.

Role of Businesses

  • Businesses should promote a culture of meritocracy based on performance, aptitude, potential and interest, and prevent any form of discrimination when hiring, developing and promoting talent.
  • Further more, paying fair wages and eliminating the gender pay gap will also be crucial to boost social mobility.

 

What is Social Mobility?

  • Social mobility can be understood as the movement in personal circumstances either “upwards” or “downwards” of an individual in relation to those of their parents. In absolute terms, it is the ability of a child to experience a better life than their parents.
  • On the other hand, relative social mobility is an assessment of the impact of socio-economic background on an individual’s outcomes in life.
  • It can be measured against a number of outcomes ranging from health to educational achievement and income.
  • The concept was introduced by the Russian-born American sociologist and political activist Pitirim Sorokin in his book “Social and Cultural Mobility.”

Dimensions of Social Mobility

  • Intra-generational Mobility: The ability for an individual to move between socio-economic classes within their own lifetime.
  • Intergenerational Mobility: The ability for a family group to move up or down the socio-economic ladder across the span of one or more generations.
  • Absolute Income Mobility: The ability for an individual to earn, in real terms, as much as or more than their parents at the same age.
  • Absolute Educational Mobility: The ability for an individual to attain higher education levels than their parents.
  • Relative Income Mobility: How much of an individual’s income is determined by their parent’s income.
  • Relative Educational Mobility: How much of an individual’s educational attainment is determined by their parent’s educational attainment.

Factors Responsible Social Mobility

  • Motivation: Each individual has a desire not only to have a better way of living but also to improve his social status. This desiremotivates and without such motivation social mobility is not possible.
  • Achievements and Failures: Remark able achievements affect status. For instance, instance,a poor man who has acquired wealth or anun known writer who has won a literary prize will improve his status.
  • Education: Education not only helps an individual to acquire knowledge and works like a passport to a higher prestige – occupational/ positional. Education facilitates upward mobility,where as lack of education can lead to downward mobility.
  • Skills and Training: Each society makes provision to impart skill and training to the younger generation. Skill and training facilitate in theim provement of social position, thus leading to social mobility.
  • Migration: People migrate from one place to another either dueto push or pull factors. Migration affects one’s position and results in social mobility; it can be both ways – upward or downward.
  • Industrialization: The industrial revolution ushered new social system in which people were given status according to their ability and training. There fore, industrialization facilitates social mobility.
  • Urbanization: Urban settlements offer lots of work and educational facilities to people keeping aside their ascribed status. There fore, urbanization facilitates social mobility by removing those factors which hinder social mobility.
  • Legislation: Enactment of new laws also facilitates social mobility.Legislations like right to education to all, property rights to women and secularisation and so on help people to grab opportunities and prosper, therefore resulting in social mobility.

Market Study On E-commerce In India


  • On 8th January, 2020, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) released a Report under the title-Market Study on E-commerce in India.
  • The study was initiated by the CCI in April 2019 with a view to better understand the functioning of e-commerce in India and its implications for markets and competition.
  • The study covered the three broad categories of e-commerce in consumer goods (mobiles, lifestyle, electrical & electronic appliances, and grocery), accommodation services and food services.

Objective

  • To study market trends with a particular focus on emerging distribution methods and strategies in response to ecommerce
  • To understand business practices and contractual provisions in ecommerce, their underlying rationale and implications for competition
  • To identify impediments to competition, if any, relating to ecommerce
  • To ascertain enforcement and advocacy priorities for the Commission in e-commerce

Key Findings

Growing E-commerce Sector

  • India is the fastest growing market for the e-commerce sector growing at an annual rate of 51 percent, the highest in the world.
  • E-commerce in India has attracted investors from across the world.

Increasing Price Competition

  • The study points to an increased intensity of price competition across the categories studied.
  • On the one hand, consumers enjoy increased price transparency and the consequent ease of price-comparison, on the other hand it enables sellers to monitor competitor’s prices on a real-time basis and use the same as an input in setting their own prices.

Strategic Response to e-Commerce

  • Businesses across sectors and at the various levels of supply chains were found to be gearing up to avail the opportunities of e-commerce while also equipping themselves to address the attendant challenges.

Role of Online Marketplace Platforms

  • The study reveals that third-party online marketplaces play a central role in e-commerce in India. An estimated 64% of digital retail trade in India is through online platforms.
  • While large brands/retailers own and manage popular stand alone websites, online commerce in India is driven largely bythird party platforms.

Competition Issues

Deep Discounts

  • Discounts can harm competition when used as an exclusionary device by enterprises with market power.
  • The concern raised by sellers/service providers with respect to discounts offered on/by marketplace platforms is threefold - i) discounts are discriminatory ii) discounts imposed by platforms in exercise of their superior bargaining power adversely affects the business models of the service providers iii) discounts push prices to below-cost levels in certain product categories and impair the offline small retailer’s ability to compete.

Exclusive Agreements

  • Exclusive agreements raise potential competition concern when used as an exclusionary tactic to foreclose competition torivals or to impede entry.
  • Exclusive agreements may make rival platforms incur significant additional cost to induce the brands/service providers to give up the exclusive contract with the major platform.

Platform Parity Restrictions

  • Platform parity clauses imposed by incumbent platforms may serve as a barrier to entry by such low-cost platforms.
  • A review of the anti-trust literature on price parity clauses show that these restrictions can give rise to competition concerns.

Lack of Platform Neutrality

  • Lack of transparency in the platform’s functioning and practices can on the one hand allow for possible distortion of competition on the platforms and on the other hand, consumer choice may not reflect consumer preference with perfect information.
  • The three elements, which according to the business users of the platforms are susceptible to manipulation/exploitation by platforms, are search results,seller’s/service provider’s data and user review/rating mechanisms.

Unfair Platform-to-Business Contract Terms

  • The study has also found that online platforms exercised superior bargaining position by imposing unfair contract terms on sellers, which led to growing unease and tensionin platform-business relations.

Recommended Transparency Measures

Search Ranking

  • Set out in the platforms terms and conditions, a general description of the main search ranking parameters, drafted in plain and intelligible language and keep that description up to date.

Collection, Use and Sharing of Data

  • Set out a clear and transparent policy on data that is collected on the platform, the use of such data by the platform and also the potential and actual sharing of such data with third parties or related entities.

User Review and Rating Mechanism

  • Adequate transparency over user review and rating mechanisms is necessary for ensuring information symmetry, which is a prerequisite for fair competition.
  • Adequate transparency to be maintained in publishing and sharing user reviews and ratings with the business users. Reviews for only verified purchases to be published and mechanisms to be devised to prevent fraudulent reviews/ratings.

Revision in Contract Terms

  • Notify the business users concerned of any proposed changes in terms and conditions. The proposed changes not to be implemented before the expiry of a notice period, which is reasonable and proportionate to the nature and extent of the envisaged changes and to their consequences for the business user concerned.

Discount Policy

  • Bring out clear and transparent policies on discounts, including inter alia the basis of discount rates funded by platforms for different products/suppliers and the implications of participation/non-participation in discount schemes.

Significance

  • The study has helped gather useful insights and information on the key features of e-commerce in India, the different business models of e-commerce players, and the various aspects of commercial arrangements between market participants involved in e-commerce.
  • In addition, it also provides an opportunity to learn from business enterprises on how they are responding to the advent of digital trade and has helped gauge the key parameters of competition in digital commerce.

Competition Commission of India (CCI)

CCI was established on 14 October, 2003, under the Competition Act, 2002 for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Act, and was duly constituted in March 2009.

Objectives

  • To prevent practices having adverse effect on competition.
  • To promote and sustain competition in markets.
  • To protect the interests of consumers.
  • To ensure freedom of trade.

 

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.

Goal

  • 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.

Performance

  • 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.

Limitations

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.

Significance

  • 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.

Objectives

  • 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.

Significance

  • 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.

Aim

  • 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

 

Recommendations

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.

Objectives

  • 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

  • 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.

Wetlands

  • 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.

Significance

  • 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.

Objectives

  • 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

Significance

  • 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.

Objective

  • 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.

Background

  • 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

Significance

  • 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.

Aim

  • 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

Significance

  • 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.

Indicators

  • 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.

Significance

  • 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.

Shortcomings

  • 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

Overspeeding

  • 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.

Overloading

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

Weather

  • 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.

 

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

Objective

  • To strengthen the corporate governance framework of CICs.

Background

  • 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

Significance

  • 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.

Mission

  • 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.

Objectives

  • 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.

Objective

  • 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.
Vision:
  • TB-Free India with zero deaths, disease and poverty due to tuberculosis
Goal:
  • 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.
Vision
  • A world free of TB. Zero deaths, disease and suffering due to TB.
Goal
  • End the global tuberculosis epidemic.
Indicators
  • 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.

Aims

  • 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.

Assam

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.

Significance

  • 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.

Aim

  • 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
 

Significance

  • 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

Significance

  • 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

Malnutrition

  • 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.

Objectives

  • 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.

 Objectives

  • 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.

Significance

  • 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.

National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF)


Why is it in News?

In NIRF 2019, IIT-Madras has topped the list followed by IISC-Bangalore.

About NIRF:

  • The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) is a methodology adopted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, to rank institutions of higher education in India.
  • It was launched by MHRD in 2015.
  • There are separate rankings for different types of institutions depending on their areas of operation like universities and colleges, engineering institutions, management institutions, pharmacy institutions and architecture institutions.

Methodology Adopted to Rank Institutions:

Every institution is broadly rated on five parameters:-

1. Teaching Learning & Resources
  • This parameter is related to the core activities of any place of learning.
  • Example:-Faculty Student ratio, number of faculties with PHD etc.

2. Research and Professional Practice

  • It includes number of papers filed by faculty & students in International Journals, Patents, IPR etc.

3. Graduation Outcome

  • This parameter forms the ultimate test of the effectiveness of the core teaching/learning in institution. It includes number of placements, average salary to students placed, students opting for higher studies etc.

4. Outreach & Inclusivity

  • The Ranking framework lays special emphasis on representation of women in institutions, students from different states, students from physically handicapped domain etc.

5. Perception

  • The ranking methodology gives a significant importance to the perception of the institution by its students, public & alumni etc.

Weightage Alloted to Different Parameters:

For ranking of Universities, 30% weightage is given to Teaching & Learning; Methodologies & Research; Professional Practice, while 20% weightage is given to Graduation Outcome; 10% weightage is given to Outreach; Inclusivity and Perception.

Source: nirfindia.org

Global Report On Food Crises 2019


Why is it in News?

The Global Report on Food Crises 2019 was jointly released by Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Key Highlights of Report:

  • As per the report, approximately 113 million people in 53 countries experienced high levels of food insecurity last year. These crises were primarily driven by conflict and climate-related factors.
  • The two-third (66.66%) of the total number of people facing acute food crisis were in 8 countries namely- Yemen, Congo, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Syria, Sudan and North Nigeria.
  • The report also provides a short-term forecast of food insecurity in 2019.

What is the Need of Hour?

  • The report calls for increased collaboration to end conflicts, empower women, feed and educate children, improve rural infrastructure, and reinforce social safety nets in order to address the root causes of food crises caused by man-made shocks such as conflict and civil unrest.

Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO):

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. It was founded on 16th October, 1945.
  • Their goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.
  • It is headquartered in Rome,Italy.

Codex Alimentarius/ Food Code:

It was established by the FAO and WHO to protect consumer health and promote fair practices in food trade.

The Codex Alimentarius, or ‘Food Code’ is a collection of internationally adopted food standards presented in a uniform manner. The main purpose is to maintain the hygiene and ensuring fair practices in food trade. These food codes deter the adulteration of food material.

Source: www.fao.org