9 PM Daily Brief – August 26th,2020

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

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9 PM for Main examination

GS-1

  1. Social cohesion for senior citizens

GS-3

  1. Limits to pushing mono-cropping of cereals
  2. India- The next global manufacturing hub
  3. Nutrition is India’s next big headache

GS-4

  1. Promoting distributive justice among the people

9 PM for Preliminary examination

FACTLy


1.Social cohesion for senior citizens

Source- The Indian Express

Syllabus- GS 1- Population and associated issues

Context– Cognitive skills and social support networks could help older people to foster meaningful connection and sense of belongingness during isolation.

Impact of lockdown

  1. Loneliness and related mental issues– Millions of elderly people live without their extended family or made arrangement to live separately due to the virus have difficulty in accessing food, water and basic services which increases the risk of loneliness and anxiety.
  2. Starvation – The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic may prove more devastating for world’s poorest countries as the global economy hurtles into recession, people lose jobs by the hundreds of millions and the risk of hunger grows.
  3. Healthcare access– Measure like social distancing self-isolation and travel restrictions have a disproportionate effect, especially in the matters relating to healthcare access.  Lack of access to healthcare services could aggravate physical disabilities, hinder the effective management of communicable diseases and lead to mental ill-health problems amongst the elderly.
  4. Struggling migrant worker – With factories and workplaces shut down due to the lockdown, millions of migrant workers had to deal with the loss of income, food shortage and uncertainty about their future.
  5. Vulnerability –The elderly is at a greatest risk against COVID-19, and those with pre-existing problems are the most vulnerable among all.

Lesson learned from the current COVID-19 pandemic

  1. Local communities’ collaboration– Local communities understand their needs and capabilities better than experts. Collaboration has enabled many communities to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

Example- Kerala’s model– Systems of Local and collaborative action have done much better job to contain the virus than other states in India.

  1. Civil society– They play an important collective role to maintain the narrative that every life matters and encourage people to revitalize existing community networks, to maintain connections even if physical distancing measures are in place, and to promote social cohesion and the inclusion of older people.

Example- OPA [Older Persons’ Association] in Vietnam take responsibility of most vulnerable people of the communities and the older members are proving to be valuable assets for the community as they active and feel valued.

Way forward-

Older people have an invaluable role to play in the collective future. So the need is to keep older people engaged. The need is of “social cohesion” not “social distancing” in communities and in humanity as whole, to fight this pandemic and also improve human well-being.

2.Limits to pushing mono-cropping of cereals

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: Gs3: Major Crops – Cropping Patterns in various parts of the country

Context: A stronger political will can bring progressive changes to fine cereals cultivation to ensure reduction in financial and environmental costs from a long-term perspective.

More on news:

  • The NITI Aayog recently came up with a suggestion that the area under cane should be reduced by 300,000 hectares so that consistent annual surpluses in sugar as also the price and other impacts on the sector as a whole can be minimised.

Cereals require greater attention:

  • India is the world’s second largest producer of both rice and wheat. India exports annually about 10 mt of rice.
  • Increase in production: Cultivated on 45 million hectares in kharif and rabi seasons, rice production has consistently risen over the years from 104.4 million tonnes (mt) in 2015-16 to 117.9 mt in 2019-20. Wheat, a rabi crop, is planted on around 30 million hectares and its harvest stood at 107.2 mt in 2019-20, up from 92.3 mt five years ago.
  • Rise in MSP and procurement cost:Annual hikes in the minimum support price combined with the system of open-ended procurement through the Food Corporation of India (FCI) have contributed to increase in harvest size.
  • Burgeoning public stocks: The FCI often ends up buying 30-40 per cent of the harvest.
  • High cost of maintenance: Overflowing granaries create a sense of comfort and security in a country that is home to over 300 million poor people. But it comes at an enormous cost to the exchequer and the environment alike.
    • Humongous carrying costs-warehouse rent, interest charges, handling cost and loss due to damage and quality deterioration, to name a few.
  • Rising subsidies: distribution of the fine cereals through government-funded welfare programmes at highly subsidised rates (as much as 90 per cent)
  • Environmental cost:Grain mono-cropping — cultivation of rice and wheat in an unbroken chain season after season — in major growing States such as Punjab and Haryana over the last 20-30 years is inflicting enormous invisible costs.
    • Deterioration of soil health.
    • Excessive exploitation of groundwater:free power supply encourages reckless drawing of groundwater for irrigation which has resulted in the water table going down to alarmingly low levels.
  • Over-dependence on the north-western region:Any unusual rise due to climate change in day temperature during growing season can hurt wheat yields.

Way forward:

  • Practice Crop rotation:The practice of grain mono-cropping needs to change.
    • Ensure food security without damaging the environment.
    • In regions of grain mono-cropping, crop rotation must be mandated.
  • Encourage growing of legumes: legumes should be cultivated to give a break to grain mono-cropping
  • Strong political will:successive governments at the Centre and in the States have been indifferent to crop rotation in Punjab and Haryana.
    • MSP hikes for rice and wheat can be moderated.
    • Procurement of rice and wheat in such regions should be limited to the minimum.
    • Policy change:The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices should take into account the environmental cost associated with grain mono-cropping.
  • Incentivise farmers: Growers who practice crop rotation should be incentivised with assured purchase by the government.
  • Reduce over-dependence on the north-western region for wheat cultivation and procurement should gradually give way to promotion of the fine cereal in other States by building robust procurement infrastructure.

3.India- The next global manufacturing hub

Source- The Hindu

Syllabus- GS 3- Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth

Context – Several manufacturing companies operating from China will relocate their businesses to other destinations after the end of this pandemic. Prime Minister Modi is taking this COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to pursue the goal of a self-reliant India.

Reasons for global companies to exit China

  1. Heavy dependence on China – The common realization among many nations that relying heavily on China for building capacities and sourcing manufacturing goods is not an ideal business strategy due to supply chain disruptions in the countries caused by COVID-19.
  2. Geopolitical conflicts-The growing risk and uncertainty involved in operating from or dealing with China in the light of geopolitical and trade conflicts between the China and US.

Current scenario of Manufacturing Sector in India

  1. India ranks sixthin contribution to manufacturing output while china is on the top.
  2. India’s share of manufacturing in Gross Domestic Production [GDP] stood at 15.41 percent, only half of china’s figure.

Constraints in promoting the manufacturing sector

Role of state governments-

  1. Land Availability-An important requirement for the development of the manufacturing sector is the availability of land area, proving land throughout pan India will
  2. State- specific industrialization– The reasons for less manufacturing activity in States have to be carefully examined, and based on this, State-specific industrialization strategies need to be devised and implemented by the Central government.
  3. Co-ordination– Strategy would be more effective if the policy actions of the Centre and the States government are well coordinated.

Way forward-

Cooperative federalism between Centre and States is needed for developing the whole manufacturing sector. Solution to these constraints are not possible without the active participation of State governments and effective policy coordination between the Centre and the States.

4.Nutrition is India’s next big headache

Source: Livemint

Syllabus: GS-3- Food Security

Context: Covid-19 pandemic will have far-reaching impact on India’s nutritional security.

Status of Malnutrition in India

  • According to NHFS4, 38% of children below 5 years are stunted, 21% are wasted and 36% are underweight.
  • Anaemia is prevalent in 53% women and 23% men in the 15-49 age groups
  • 21% of women and 19% of men in the same age group are either overweight or obese.
  • India was ranked 102nd out of 117 countries in Global Hunger Index 2019. With a score of 30.3, India suffers from a level of hunger that is serious.

Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on India’s Nutritional Security

  • The United Nations World Food Program has estimated 265 million people to face acute food shortage after the COVID-19 crisis. India faces the threat of food security despite holding 58.4 million tonnes of food grain in addition to 3 million tonnes of pulses.
  • In the aftermath of the pandemic, Oxfam estimates that an additional 100 million Indians are vulnerable to food distress. Women and women-headed households will be the hardest hit

Issues and Challenges with eradicating malnutrition in India

  • Cereal-based Diet:A major reason for micronutrient deficiency in India is because of a cereal-based diet. However, even the National Food Security Act does not address the issue of nutritional deficiency adequately. Further, food fortification has also been inadequate.
  • Public health and sanitation: Poor sanitary conditions caused by open-defecation and other issues contribute to malnutrition. Lack of a comprehensive framework to address such issues undermines food security efforts.
  • Issues with PDS: Inclusion and exclusion errors in PDS, large leakages of food grains, inadequate distribution of food, food adulterations in distributed food are major issues in food security.
  • Implementation of Nutritional Programmes: Unmonitored, improper implementation of nutritional programmes and lack of accountability remains a major challenge in achieving food security.
  • Environmental Degradation: Agricultural production is under stress from environmental degradation, desertification, climate change, and an increasing conversion of land for non-agricultural activities. According to scientists, climate change induced fluctuating weather patterns will reduce production for most crops including maize and rice.
  • Lack of nutritional and health awareness:Lack of awareness, ignorance of healthy diets, unhealthy feeding and caring practices, poor breastfeeding practice are major challenges in reducing malnutrition

Way Forward

  • Monitor food insecurity closely in the months ahead. Large datasets generated by the national sample survey (NSS) should include detailed questions on people’s food and nutritional distress.
  • The anganwadi centers should increase the provision of dry food ration when and wherever midday meals for children are not possible.
  • The Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP) must continue to publish weekly updates to help keep a check on future disease outbreaks.
  • Government should plan to distribute 77 million tonnes of food grains reserved in agricultural godowns
  • Immunisation, public health screening, family planning and other such programmes should be resumed fully.
  • Nutritional Awareness should be spread through education and ICT activities.

5.Promoting distributive justice among the people

Source- The Hindu

Syllabus- GS 4- Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions

Context- Today society is afflicted by deep material, cultural and knowledge- related inequalities. These inequalities are growing by the day. Sometimes they are accompanied by assertions of unequal moral worth, though today, a deafening silence on social and distributive justice is more common.

Distributive Justice-

  • Meaning-It is concerned with the fair allocation of resources among all the groups, regardless of age, gender, social class, geographic location, race, or ethnicity. Fair allocation takes into account the total amount of goods to be distributed, the distributing procedure, and the pattern of distribution that result.
  • The idea of distributive justice is based on social condition marked by an absence of love or familiarity.
  • David Hume– a Scottish philosopher termed “the circumstances of justice” as :
  1. Type of society where justice is not needed – A society where everything is abundantly available would not need justice in any form. People will have as much of everything they want. Without the necessity of sharing, justice becomes redundant.
  2. Just is a virtue– In a society with massive scarcity, justice is impossible. In order to survive, each person is compelled to grab whatever happens to be available.

Therefore, Justice acquires value in societies with moderate scarcity, where people are forced to deal with those who they don’t love. It presupposes a moral psychology in which humans are neither wholly selfish nor entirely benevolent.

Justice-

  • The basic idea of justice is that each person gets what is properly due to him or her, that the benefits and burdens of society be distributed in a manner that gives each person his or her due.

Distinction between Hierarchical and Egalitarian notions of justice-

  1. Hierarchical notions of justice-
  • What is due to a person is established by her or his place within a hierarchical system.
  • Certain groups are born privileged; their members are entitled to a disproportionately large share of benefits and a disproportionately small share of burdens.

For Instance; Rank determined at the time of birth in a society ridden with caste hierarchies.

  • This concept has been challenged innumerable times in Indian history. Such as in the early teachings of the Buddha, Bhakti poetry, and protest movements like Veera-shaivism.

However, this challenge has become tough, precise and sustained.

  1. Egalitarian notions of justice-
  • It describes the idea that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or moral status. It secures for everyone an equal set of resources and an equal opportunity to convert those  resources into welfare regardless of caste, colour, creed or gender.
  • This concept of justice of sharing or distributing, of giving people their due that is consistent with equal dignity.
  • It tries to find a balance between need and desert for better distribution of justice.

Factors interpreting what are due to persons of equal moral worth

  1. Need- What is due to person is what she really needs, i.e., whatever is necessary for general human well-being.
  2. Desert- The principle of desert states that what is due to a person is what he or she deserves, it is determined not by birth or tradition but by a person’s own qualities. For instance ‘natural talent’ or ‘productive efforts’.

Therefore, those who are talented or work hard should be rewarded with the more benefits and be less burdened.

Way Forward

The need of the society is to promote egalitarian justice system. Preamble has justice and equality as two of the defined objectives for which not only the Indian state but citizens need to strive proactively.


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