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Public Affairs Index 2018


The Public Affairs Index is released annually since 2016 by the think tank Public Affairs Centre (PAC) which relies solely on Govt. data and the index examines governance performance in the states on social and economic development they are able to provide.

Latest Findings

Among Large States: Kerala stands as the best-governed state in the country (third consecutive year since 2016) followed by Tamil Nadu. While Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat are ranked third, fourth and fifth among the top five states delivering good governance, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar ranked the lowest, indicating higher social and economic inequalities in the states.

Among Smaller States (with population less than two crore): Himachal Pradesh topped the list, followed by Goa, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura which figured among the top five states with good governance. Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya were ranked at the bottom of the index among small states.

Child-friendly States

This year’s PAI also included a separate index on the children of India, giving a measure of how child-friendly each of the states are. Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Mizoram topped the index on being the states to provide better living conditions for all children.


Lancet Report On AIDS & India


A new report by the International AIDS Society and Lancet Commission, says the world was not on track to end AIDS by 2030, as envisioned as part of global Sustainable Development Goals. With more than two million people with HIV, and an estimated 62,000 AIDS-related deaths in 2016, India alone was to the third largest HIV epidemic in the world.

India has declared its aim to decrease new HIV infections by 75 per cent in the period between 2010 and 2020, and eliminate AIDS by 2030.

The Report says if India took all proactive measures, including testing, anti-retroviral therapy and pre-exposure preventive treatment, in the vulnerable groups, it could hope to avert only about seven per cent of new HIV cases between now and 2028. That would still mean potentially 51,000 new infections would be avoided and about 81,000 AIDS related deaths would be prevented during this time.


Global Slavery Index 2018 & India


The Global Slavery Index 2018, published by Walk Free Foundation estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were nearly 8 million people living in “modern slavery” in India — a claim strongly contested by the government on the grounds that its parameters were poorly defined and too wide-ranging.

The report said that in terms of prevalence, there were 6.1 victims for every thousand people. Among 167 countries India ranked 53 with North Korea at the top of the list with 104.6 per 1,000 and Japan registering lowest prevalence rate of 0.3 per 1,000. However, in absolute numbers India topped the list on prevalence. China found itself at 111 place with a prevalance rate of 2.8 per 1,000.

The report also claims that India is at risk due to “global trade and business”. It states that India will be exposed to the risk of modern slavery through products it imports.


Global Innovation Rankings


India has ranked 57th out of 126 countries in the Global Innovation Index (GII) this year -an improvement of three places- last year (2017), India was at 60th position.

India’s Strength: Graduates in Science & Engineering; ICT services and Exports; Gross Capital Formation; Trade, competition and market scale; domestic market; creative goods exports.

India’s Weakness:
Political stability & Safety; Ease of starting Business; Overall education; ICT use; Environmental performance; New Businesses

The rankings are published by the World Intellectual Property Organisation — a specialised agency of the United Nations — in association with Cornell University and graduate business school INSEAD. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is one of the knowledge partners which assists the GII team in bringing out the rankings. The GII ranks 126 countries based on 80 indicators.

Top Five: 1. Switzerland, 2. Netherlands, 3. Sweden, 4. UK, 5. Singapore


Ease Of Doing Business In Indian States & UTs


The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, released the final rankings of States in Ease of Doing Business.

The top rankers are Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Haryana. Jharkhand and Gujarat stood fourth and fifth respectively. Others in the top ten are Chhattisgarh (6), Madhya Pradesh (7), Karnataka (8), Rajasthan (9) and West Bengal (10). Meghalaya was ranked last at 36th position.

DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the World Bank conducted an annual reform exercise for all States and UTs under the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP). The aim of this exercise is to improve delivery of various Central Government regulatory functions and services in an efficient, effective and transparent manner.

It is for the first time that DIPP has introduced taking feedback to ensure that the reforms have actually reached ground level. 78 reforms out of 372 were identified for the survey.


Law Commission On Gambling In Sports


The Law Commission of India headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice B.S. Chauhan has submitted its report "Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India" to the government.

Major Recommendations

  • Since it is impossible to stop illegal gambling, the only viable option left is to “regulate” gambling in sports.
  • It favoured “cashless” gambling in sports as a means to increase revenue. The money generated can be used for public welfare activities.
  • Transactions between gamblers and operators should be linked to their Aadhaar and PAN cards so that the government could keep an eye on them.
  • It proposes a classification of ‘proper gambling’ and ‘small gambling.’ Proper gambling would be for the rich who play for high stakes, while small gambling would be for the low-income groups.
  • Government should introduce a cap on the number of gambling transactions for each individual, that is, monthly, half-yearly and annual.
  • Regulations need to protect vulnerable groups, minors and those below poverty line, those who draw their sustenance from social welfare measures, government subsidies and Jan Dhan account holders from exploitation through gambling.
  • Foreign Exchange Management and Foreign Direct Investment laws and policies should be amended to encourage investment in the casino/online gaming industry. This would propel tourism and employment.


National Health Resource Repository


The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched the National Health Resource Repository (NHRR), the first ever registry in the country registry of authentic, standardised and updated geo-spatial data of all public and private healthcare. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the project technology partner for providing data security.

Under the Collection of Statistics Act 2008, more than 20 lakh healthcare establishments such as hospitals, doctors, clinics, diagnostic labs, pharmacies and nursing homes would be enumerated under this census, which will capture data on more than 1,400 variables.


11th Common Review Mission (CRM) Report


As per the 11th Common Review Mission (CRM) report of the National Health Mission, India has registered a record 22% reduction in MMR since 2013, which is the highest percentage decline so far when compared to all the previous reductions in MMR as per the earlier rounds of SRS. “Maternal Mortality Ratio of India has declined from 167 in 2011-2013 to 130 in 2014-2016. The 11th CRM team visited 16 States/UTs, of which 4 were North-Eastern States, 6were High Focus States and 6were Non-High Focus States.


IIT Delhi Study On Rising Temperature In India


IIT Delhi scientists studying temperatures from 1956 to 2005 have for the first time shown that greenhouse gases (GHGs) released by human activities are solely responsible for the warming climate in India.

The study says that, greenhouse gases have raised India’s temperatures much more than what we have experienced but it has been offset substantially by aerosols and land use change. Importantly, there was no contribution to warming from natural causes.

The researchers found that the warming caused by GHGs across India was more than three times what was actually observed during this period. That the warming was confined to 0.5 degree Celsius was due to the cooling effects of pollution, another by-product of the use of fossil fuels. The IIT research has crucial implications for the fight against air pollution. The findings suggest that there could be a sharper increase in warming as we reduce air pollution.

While warming is a worldwide trend that has been scientifically linked to GHG emissions, this is the first study to trace the cause of rising temperatures in India to such emissions.

The study found the sharpest rise in temperatures in the western Himalayas, specifically J&K and adjoining areas. Northeast and north-central India were the only regions that showed no significant warming during the period under study.


Uranium Contamination Found In India's Groundwater


A new Duke University-led study has found widespread uranium contamination in groundwater from aquifers in 16 Indian states. Several studies have linked exposure to uranium in drinking water to chronic kidney disease.


Nearly a third of all water wells we tested in one state, Rajasthan, contained uranium levels that exceed the World Health Organization and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's safe drinking water standards.

The study also identified aquifers contaminated with similarly high levels of uranium in 26 other districts in northwestern India and nine districts in southern or southeastern India.

The World Health Organization has set a provisional safe drinking water standard of 30 micrograms of uranium per liter, a level that is consistent with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. Despite this, uranium is not yet included in the list of contaminants monitored under the Bureau of Indian Standards' Drinking Water Specifications.

Another report back home

A recent Lok Sabha secretariat report reveals that east and northeast districts of Delhi suffer from arsenic contamination of groundwater while other districts have recorded nitrate and fluoride pollution.

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