9 PM Daily Brief – October16th, 2020

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

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GS-2

  1. Issues of education system in India
  2. Food security to nutritional security: issues and solutions

GS-3

4.Bangladesh’s per capita income greater than India’s

  1. MSME Udyam Process
  2. Hyderabad urban flooding

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FACTLY

1.Issues of education system in India

Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus: GS-2- Education

Context: Delhi University’s high cut-offs in admissions is not a reflection of standards as there is no connection between one’s intellectual ability and performance in examinations.

Comment on the current education system.

  • Rote learning and exaggerated marks point out the lack of pedagogic imagination and show a highly mechanised process of entering the higher education.
  • This trend for marks converts a learner into a smart consumer and the only skill she/he acquires is the ability to memorise associated bullet points as emphasised by exam-oriented teachers and coaching centre gurus.
  • The path of success is causing the stigma of failure as the “fact-centric”/“objective”/short questions become the new normal, it becomes very difficult not to get at least 80 per cent in the board examination.
  • Social Darwinism(Survival of the fittest) is normalised and hyper-competitiveness becomes the philosophy of the age as schools become highly-oppressive institutions.

Do the students find enough guidance?

Young students hardly find any guidance as they choose their subjects and enter colleges.

  • Academic disciplines are ranked through the market rationality and young students are regularly pressured by the anxiety-ridden parents.
  • They are driven by the peer culture, as a result, they tend to prefer “prestigious” subjects like Physics, Economics, Commerce, English literature and Psychology, even if they are not naturally inclined to these subjects.
  • colleges and universities are hierarchized due to the ranking system. The students select the college keeping in mind the “brand consciousness” instead of the subject of their liking.

Way forward

  • We should acquire the courage to accept that one’s curiosity, aptitude and awakened intelligence cannot be measured through a pattern of examination that compels one to be a robotic performer rather than a creative wanderer.

2. Food security to nutritional security in India

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS-2- Policy

Context: Strong food systems will have to be built back as the world is not on track to achieve global targets by 2030.

What is a food system?

  • It is a framework that includes every aspect of feeding and nourishing people: from growing, harvesting and processing to packaging, transporting, marketing and consuming food.
  • A food system must provide enough nutritious food for all without compromising feeding future generations and would be called a sustainable food system.

How has the food system of the country performed this year?

  • Central and State governments were able to distribute around 23 million tonnes from India’s large domestic food grain reserves in three months through the Public Distribution System. It helped in providing much-needed emergency assistance to families around the country.
  • The government successfully mobilised food rations for 820 million people from April to November 2020, including finding alternate solutions to provide food rations to 90 million school children.
  • Agriculture grew at 3.4% during the first quarter this financial year and the area cultivated this kharif exceeded 110 million hectares.

What are the issues faced by India?

  • The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey 2016-18 revealed that over 40 million children are chronically malnourished, and more than half of Indian women aged 15-49 years are anaemic.
  • Climate change continues to be a real and potent threat to agro-biodiversity, which will impact everything from productivity to livelihoods across food and farm systems.
  • Intensified food production systems with excessive use of chemicals and unsustainable farming practices cause soil degradation, fast depletion of groundwater table and rapid loss of agro-biodiversity.
  • In India, more than 86% farmers have less than two hectares of land contributing around 60% of the total food grain production and over half the country’s fruits and vegetables.

It destroys human possibilities. One who could have contributed immensely to the study of Hindi literature ends up pursuing Economics or, for that matter, one who carries the burden of St Stephen’s Economics might have found real satisfaction in pursuing History in a not so “reputed” institution like Deshbandhu College.

What are the steps taken to counter the challenges?

  • The FAO, IFAD and the WFP worked in close coordination to support the Government of India’s Empowered Group 5 to facilitate supply chain and logistics management, so necessary items such as food and medicines were available.
  • The agencies provided daily updates on the real-time situation on the ground, checking challenges/red flags, dynamic subjective data and good practices from their sources in the field.
  • The Integrated Child Development Services which provides cooked meals and take-home rations to 100 million children under the age of six, as well as to pregnant and lactating mothers.
    • The mid-day meal programme, are however some examples of how the government is working to fix these challenges.
  • India is dealing innovatively with climate change. For example, through the development of drought and flood tolerant seed varieties, weather-based agricultural advisories, promotion of millets, and small-scale irrigation.
  • The way we produce food must change through agro-ecology and sustainable production practices in agriculture and allied sectors.
  • Stop the waste as one-third of the food we produce is wasted. That is why the UN, and our three agencies; the FAO (The Food and Agriculture Organisation), IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) and WFP (The World Food Programme) are committed to working with government, civil society, farmers’ organisations and the private sector to build sustainable food systems.

Way forward

  • Everybody has a role to play in transforming our food systems so they can withstand increasing volatility and climate shocks, deliver affordable and sustainable healthy diets for all, and provide decent livelihoods for food chain workers.

3.Bangladesh’s per capita income greater than India’s

Source: Indian Express

Syllabus: Gs3: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.

Context: For the year 2020, the per capita income of an average Bangladeshi citizen would be more than the per capita income of an average Indian citizen.

Why India’s per capita income has fallen below Bangladesh this year.?

  • Contracted Growth: India’s economy is over 10 times the size of Bangladesh and India’s growth surpassed Bangladesh during 2004 to 2016. However, since 2017 India’s growth rate has decelerated while Bangladesh’s growth rate increased.
  • Increase in population growth: Per capita income is calculated by dividing the total GDP by the total population. Compared to Bangladesh, between 2004-2019  India’s population growth was high.
  • Covid 19 impact: With India’s GDP set to reduce by 10%, India is one of the worst affected economies whereas Bangladesh GDP expected to grow by 4%.

How has Bangladesh managed to grow so fast?

  • Moving away from Pakistan gave the country a chance to plan its own economic and political identity.
  • Flexible Labour laws and Higher female participation in the labour force leading to stellar export performance in garments and apparel industry.
  • Structure of Bangladesh’s economy is led by the industrial sector, followed by the services sector. With manufacturing sector being more labour intensive creates opportunities for more jobs and are more remunerative than agriculture.
  • Whereas India, on the other hand, has struggled to boost its industrial sector and has many people still dependent on agriculture.
  • Improvement on social and political metrics such as health, sanitation, financial inclusion, and women’s political representation.
  • In the latest gender parity rankings, Bangladesh is in the top 50 Out of 154 countries, while India is at 112.
  • The gender parity rankings measures differences in the political and economic opportunities as well as the educational attainment and health of men and women.
  • Bangladesh has also performed better in the Global Hunger Index. GHI focuses on four factors: Undernourishment, Child Wasting, Child Stunting and Child Mortality.

However, the level of poverty and illiteracy is still high in Bangladesh, compared to India, resulting in low HDI rank for it. Corruption, Political conflicts and radicalisation are also threatening stability in Bangladesh.

To boost growth, India should reverse its protectionism measures — lower tariffs, embrace free trade agreements, and seek greater integration with global supply chains.

4. MSME Udyam Process

Source: Indian Express

Syllabus:Gs3: Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it.

Context: Udyam initiative is promising in terms of capturing reliable and verified information about MSMEs but it can impact some MSME’s from accessing formal finance

Why the information available on MSME’s are not adequate?

  • Reliable and updated information regarding small businesses in India is absent.
  • Also, a dedicated census for MSME sector was not conducted in last 13 years.
  • Now, basic information available on MSME units is scattered across various databases such as the UAM, MSME Databank, and GSTN.
  • UAM, MSME Databank contain self-certified, voluntary information provided by a fraction of MSMEs
  • Whereas the GSTN has information on businesses with a turnover of more than Rs 40 lakh, the minimum requirement to be registered on it.

What is Udyog Aadhaar Memorandum?

  • An online filing system for MSMEs notified by the government in 2015.
  • The registration process is free, paperless and awarded instant registration.
  • It was based on the self-declaration and self-certification of basic information regarding the enterprise’s existence and functioning.
  • In 2016, the government notified rules under which MSMEs had to furnish information relating to their enterprises, online, in an MSME databank.

Why Udyam registration process?

  • Compared to UAM, the Udyam registration stress on importance of generating a verified database of MSME units.
  • Under the Udyam registration process, Aadhaar is made mandatory for proprietors
  • Irrespective of the number of manufacturing and service activities provided, every enterprise can have only one Udyam Registration Number,
  • The Income Tax department database and the GSTN is used to verify the self-declared information regarding investment and turnover.
  • The government has integrated the Udyam system with the Trade Receivables Electronic Discounting System (TReDS) and the Government e-Marketplace (GeM), In an attempt to nudge more enterprises.
  • This will significantly benefit MSMEs by offering a free and automatic route to onboard bill discounting mechanisms and the government’s online procurement system.

How Udyam process can affect MSME’s Financial inclusion?

  • RBI has clarified that all lenders may now obtain the Udyam Registration Certificate from entrepreneurs.
  • It is clear that in future financial institutions can make the Udyam registration mandatory for lending purposes.
  • Whereas most of the MSME has characteristic features of household enterprises and operate with less than five workers.
  • Most of these firms are not formally registered as being invisible benefits these firms from paying income tax or getting registered under the GST, Also the cost of formalisation and compliance are high.
  • With Udyam registration being the only valid proof for an entity to be recognised as an MSME as per the revised definition invisible MSME’s will lack legal backing to source finance from the financial institutions

What is the way forward?

  • In 2018, the International Finance Corporation estimated that the finance from formal sources met only one-third of the credit demand of the MSME sector.
  • Due to their inability to meet documentation protocols, inadequate collateral, disorganised book-keeping etc. these businesses prefer relying on informal sources for financing.
  • So, the government and RBI should consider to exempt registration of units with investment and turnover in the lower end. Such that institutional lending initiatives continue to remain accessible for all businesses, formal and informal.

5. Hyderabad urban flooding

Source- The Hindu

Syllabus- GS 3- Disaster and disaster management.

Context- Ineffective and unplanned hydra-geology of cities and town of India are more responsible for floods than monsoon.

What is urban flooding?

  • Urban flooding is the inundation of land or property in a built environment, particularly in more densely populated areas, caused by rainfall overwhelming the capacity of drainage systems, such as storm sewers.
  • Urban flooding is significantly different from rural flooding- urbanization increases flood risk by up to 3 times, increased peak flow results in flooding very quickly. Further, it affects a large number of people due to the high population density in urban areas.

Mention the causes of recent floods in Hyderabad?

  1. Unplanned development– Unplanned development, encroachments in riparian zones, failure of flood control structures, unplanned reservoir operations, poor drainage infrastructure, deforestation, land-use change and sedimentation in river beds are exacerbating floods.
  • Urban flooding– Wetlands and watersheds play a vital role in absorbing excess rainfall, but regrettably, rapid urbanization in the twin cities has resulted in the loss of a large portion of the wetlands.
  • Indiscriminate encroachment of waterways and wetlands, inadequate capacity of drains and lack of maintenance of the drainage infrastructure.
  • An analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment in 2016 revealed that 3,245 hectares of water bodies were lost in Hyderabad between 1989 and 2001.
  1. Neglect pre-disaster planning– The extent of the damage and the turmoil shows a lack of preparation and disaster mitigation, a problem that plagues most urban centres in the country.
  • Overflowing of lakes– The Hussain Sagar Lake in the middle of the city and the breaching of stormwater drains.
  • Waste management– Every water body has a holding capacity. But, with all the industrial waste and sewage being dumping into the lakes, the waste accumulated and has now affected the holding capacity of the lakes.
  • All the nalas, storm drains, culverts are gone, either land-filled and build over or simply filled with garbage, detritus and forgotten.

What are the measures needed to mitigate this?

  1. Hyderabad urgently needs to expand and remodel its drainage system.
  2. Focusing on urban flood management– Risk mapping of the areas of the city should be done to assess the vulnerability, related to urban floods by using GIS technology.
  3. Minimize the surface runoff- Limit, reduce or mitigate for impervious surface throughout the watershed by use of new engineering techniques like pervious pathways, parking lots should be considered and implements wherever possible to minimize the surface runoff.
  4. Prioritizing Buffers, Flexibility and Adaptability – This includes reviewing safety criteria of dams and canals, re-building these with higher safety factors, creating new intermediate storages, and introducing dynamic reservoir management.

Way forward-

  • The effects of flooding due to deluges can only be mitigated if urban planners take into account the hydro-geology of cities and ensure that construction, development and land occupation do not take place in a way that reduces the area of wetlands.

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