Index, Reports and Summits in News

  • Student enrolments went up by 7.5% in 2020-21, All India Survey on Higher Education data show

    Source: The post is based on the following articles:

    Ministry of Education releases All India Survey on Higher Education(AISHE) 2020-2021published in PIB on 29th January 2023

    Student enrolments went up by 7.5% in 2020-21, All India Survey on Higher Education data showpublished in The Hindu on 30th January 2023

    What is the News?

    The Ministry of Education has released the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2020-2021.

    What is the All India Survey on Higher Education(AISHE)?

    The AISHE survey has been published by the Ministry of Education since 2011.

    The survey covers all higher educational institutions located in Indian Territory imparting higher education in the country. 

    The survey collects detailed information on different parameters such as student enrollment, teacher’s data, infrastructural information, financial information etc. 

    For the first time, in AISHE 2020-21, HEIs have filled data using an entirely online data collection platform through the Web Data Capture Format(DCF) developed by the Department of Higher Education through the National Informatics Centre(NIC).

    What are the key findings of the AISHE 2020-21 survey?

    Higher Education enrolment: Enrolment in higher education has increased by 7.5% in 2020-21 from 2019-20, with female admissions increasing from 18.8 million to 20.1 million in this period.

    – Since 2020-21, the year when the COVID-19 pandemic began, there was a 7% rise in enrolments in distance education programmes.

    Female Enrolment: Female enrolment in higher education programmes had increased to 49% of total enrolments in 2020-21 compared to 45% the previous year.

    – The highest enrolment was seen at the undergraduate level which accounted for 78.9% of all enrolments followed by postgraduate level courses, which accounted for 11.4% of the year’s total enrolments.

    Popular courses: Among all undergraduate enrolments, the most popular remained the Bachelor of Arts programmes which saw 104 lakh enrolments (52.7% women; 47.3% men) followed by Bachelor of Science courses where women outnumbered men.

    Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER): The GER in higher education has increased to 27.3 from 25.6 in 2019-20. GER is the ratio of 18-23-year-old adults attending college to the total population. It has been calculated according to the 2011 census. 

    – Female GER has overtaken Male GER since 2017-18. Gender Parity Index (GPI), the ratio of female GER to male GER, has increased from 1 in 2017-18 to 1.05 in 2020-21.

    Social groups: The overall enrolment percentage of Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Other Backward Class(OBC) students in higher education institutions have increased notably from 2014-15 to 2020-21, with ST students registering nearly a 50% growth.

    Universities: During 2020-21, the number of Universities has increased by 70, and the number of Colleges has increased by 1,453.

    Rajasthan hosts the maximum number of universities in India followed by Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

    Teachers: The number of teachers increased across higher education institutes but still SC and ST teachers continued to be under-represented. 

    – The survey also found that there were 75 women teachers for every 100 male ones across institutes in the country. 

    – The teacher-pupil ratio was at 27 for all universities, colleges and standalone institutions and at 24 if only regular mode is considered. The best teacher-pupil ratio was found in States like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

  • Five billion people unprotected from trans fat leading to heart disease

    Source: The post is based on the articleFive billion people unprotected from trans fat leading to heart diseasepublished in WHO on 23rd January 2023

    What is the News?

    The World Health Organization(WHO) has released a report titled “Countdown to 2023 – WHO report on global trans fat elimination”.

    What are the key findings of the WHO report on global trans fat elimination?

    WHO had called in 2018 for harmful trans fatty acids to be eliminated by 2023. They are thought to be responsible for around 500,000 premature deaths from coronary heart disease each year.

    Since then, 43 countries have implemented best-practice policies for tackling trans fat, with some 2.8 million people now protected, a nearly six-fold increase.However, the elimination goal currently remains unattainable. 

    Currently, 9 of the 16 countries with the highest estimated proportion of coronary heart disease deaths caused by trans-fat intake do not have a best-practice policy. Some of these countries are Australia, Bhutan, Egypt, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Nepal, and Pakistan among others.

    What are the best practices to eliminate trans-fat?

    Best practices in trans-fat elimination policies follow specific criteria established by WHO and limit industrially produced trans-fat in all settings. There are two best-practice policy alternatives:

    – mandatory national limit of 2 grams of industrially produced trans-fat per 100 grams of total fat in all foods and 

    – mandatory national ban on the production or use of partially hydrogenated oils as an ingredient in all foods.

    What are the recommendations given by the WHO report on global trans fat elimination?

    WHO recommends that countries focus on adopting the best-practice policy, in addition to monitoring and surveillance, healthy oil replacements and advocacy.  

    In meanwhile, food manufacturers should be encouraged to eliminate industrially produced trans fat from their products.

    What is Trans Fat?

    Click Here to read

  • Survival of the Richest: The India story – India’s richest 1% own more than 40% of total wealth: Oxfam

    Source: The post is based on the article “India’s richest 1% own more than 40% of total wealth: Oxfam” published in The Hindu on 18th January 2023.

    What is the News?

    Oxfam has released a report  titled “Survival of the Richest: The India story”.

    What are the key findings of the Survival of the Richest: The India story?

    Wealth Inequality: The richest 1% in India now own more than 40% of the country’s total wealth, while the bottom half of the population together share just 3% of the wealth.

    – The combined wealth of India’s 100 richest has touched USD 660 billion (Rs 54.12 lakh crore) — an amount that could fund the entire Union Budget for more than 18 months.

    Gender and social inequality: Female workers earned only 63 paise for every 1 rupee earned by male workers.

    – The situation is even worse for Scheduled Castes and rural workers, as they earned 55% and half of what the advantaged social groups earned respectively, between 2018 and 2019.

    GST: Approximately 64% of the total Rs 14.83 lakh crore in Goods and Services Tax (GST) came from the bottom 50% of the population in 2021-22, with only 3% of GST coming from the top 10%.

    What are the suggestions given by the report to combat inequality?

    Implement inheritance, property and land taxes, as well as net wealth taxes, in order to reduce inequality and generate revenue for social programs.

    – For instance, taxing India’s ten-richest at 5% can fetch entire money to bring children back to school or if India’s billionaires are taxed once at 2% on their entire wealth, it would support the requirement of Rs 40,423 crore for the nutrition of malnourished in the country for the next three years. 

    Enhance the budgetary allocation of the health sector to 2.5% of GDP by 2025, as envisaged in the National Health Policy.

    Enhance the budgetary allocation for education to the global benchmark of 6% of GDP.

    Impose a windfall tax on food companies that are making large profits as inflation has surged.

     

  • ASER 2022: ASER Report flags widening learning gaps

    Source: The post is based on the articleASER Report flags widening learning gapspublished in The Hindu on 19th January 2023.

    What is the News?

    Annual Status of Education Report(ASER) 2022 has been released by Pratham, a non-governmental organization.

    What is the ASER?

    ASER is a household survey conducted across 616 rural districts covering 6.9 lakh children in the three-to-16 age group to record their schooling status and assess their basic reading and arithmetic skills. 

    The report is being brought out after four years and records the impact of school closures in 2020 and 2021 as well as the return to school of children in 2022. 

    What are the key findings of ASER 2022?
    ASER 2022
    Source: Indian Express

    Increase in school enrollment: Despite the prolonged closure of schools, the overall enrollment in schools across the country has increased at all levels, with 98.4% in the age group of 6-14 years currently enrolled in schools. The figure stood at 97.2% in 2018.

    Girl’s enrollment increased: The proportion of girls not enrolled in schools has also reduced across age groups. For girls aged 11-14, this share dropped from 4.1% in 2018 to 2% in 2022.

    Drop in Learning levels: Between 2014 and 2018, learning levels in terms of foundational skills in reading and arithmetic had been rising gradually. For example, the proportion of Class 3 students who could read a Class 2 textbook had gone up from 23.6% in 2014 to 27.2% in 2018, while those who could do at least subtraction rose from 25.3% to 28.2%.

    – However, in 2022, the basic reading ability of children in Class 3 dipped by 6.8% points from 2018 and the proportion of children in Class 3 who could do at least subtraction fell to 25.9% in 2022.

    – Clearly, the pandemic has resulted in a learning loss. However, the loss is much greater in reading as compared to arithmetic.

    Increase in children availing private tuitions: A small, steady increase in the proportion of children availing private tuitions. Between 2018 and 2022, this proportion increased further – from 26.4% to 30.5%.

    Enrollment in government schools: The percentage of children aged 11 to 14 who are enrolled in government schools has risen from 65% in 2018 to 71.7% in 2022.

    – This phenomenon can be attributed to several factors, including job losses and the closure of budget private schools in rural areas during the pandemic.

    Read more: ASER Survey and issues in school education – Explained, pointwise

     

  • Global Risk Report: Natural disasters, extreme weather second-most severe global risk in short term, says WEF report

    Source: The post is based on the article “Natural disasters, extreme weather, second-most severe global risk in short term, says WEF report” published in Down To Earth on 16th January 2023.

    What is the News?

    The World Economic Forum(WEF) has released the 18th Edition of Global Risks Report 2023.

    What is ‘Global risk’?

    ‘Global risk’ is defined as the possibility of the occurrence of an event or condition which, if it occurs, would negatively impact a significant proportion of global gross domestic product, population or natural resources.

    What is the Global Risk Report?

    Click Here to read

    What are the key findings of the report?
    Global Risk Report
    Source: WEF

    Major global risks: 

    In the next 2 years: Cost of living crisis, natural disasters and extreme weather events, geoeconomic confrontation, failure to mitigate climate change and large-scale environmental damage incidents, among others.

    In the next 10 years: Failure to mitigate climate change and climate change adaptation, biodiversity loss, large-scale involuntary migration and natural resources crises amongst others.

    Climate Action and Biodiversity Loss: The world has struggled to make the required progress on climate change despite 30 years of global climate advocacy and diplomacy.

    – Failure of climate action to address climate change has continued to figure among the top risks in the report since 2011.

    – Biodiversity within and between ecosystems is already declining faster than at any other point during human history.

    – But unlike other climate-related risks, ‘Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse’ has not been perceived to be of concern over the short term. It has been ranked as the 4th most severe risk in the long term or over the next ten years (by 2033).

    Dangerous interconnections: Over the next 10 years or by 2033, the interconnections between biodiversity loss, pollution, natural resource consumption, climate change and socioeconomic drivers will make for a dangerous mix.

    Major Risks to India

    A cost of living crisis, digital inequality, geopolitical contest for resources, natural disasters and extreme weather events are the biggest risks for India over the short and medium term.

    Extreme weather events in India: India recorded extreme weather events on 291 of the 334 days between January 1 and November 30, 2022.

    – This means that the country witnessed an extreme weather event of some sort in one or more of its regions for more than 87 percent of the time over these 11 months.

    – These extreme events have a link with human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and the climate crisis.

     

  • Wealth Report 2023 Attitude Survey: India Findings: Wealth of 9 in every 10 ultra-rich Indians rose in ’22: Knight Frank report

    Source: The post is based on the article “Wealth of 9 in every 10 ultra-rich Indians rose in ’22: Knight Frank report” published in Business Standard on 16th January 2023.

    What is the News?

    Real estate company Knight Frank has released a report titled “Wealth Report 2023 Attitude Survey: India Findings”.

    What are the key findings of the report?

    Wealth of Ultra-high-net-worth Individuals(UHNWIs) in India: The wealth of nine out of every 10 UHNWIs in India increased in 2022. This is more than double the global average where four in every 10 enjoyed wealth growth.

    UHNWIs in India own 5.1 homes which are higher than the global average of 4.1.

    19% self-made Indian UHNWIs below the age of 40. The global average is 23%.

    About 84% of the investable wealth of Indian UHNWIs is allocated between equities, real estate and bonds. 

    In 2023, 100% of the UHNWIs in India and 69% globally expect their wealth to grow.

    What UHNWIs want: Art remains the first choice as the “investment of passion” in India followed by watches and luxury handbags.

    – The UK is the most favoured country for home investment; UAE and USA follow.

    – 18% of Indian UHNWIs want to apply for new citizenship in 2023.

     

  • Report on municipal finances: Municipal corporations in India are gasping for funds

    Source: The post is based on the article “Municipal corporations in India are gasping for funds” published in Business Standard on 10th January 2023

    What is the News?

    The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has released a study titled “Report on municipal finances”.

    The study reveals how municipal bodies are increasingly dependent on fund transfers from the State and the Centre while their revenue earning capacity is limited. 

    What are the key findings from the study?

    The combined budget of all the municipal corporations in India is much smaller than that of the Central and State governments.

    Inadequate Taxes: Taxes earned by municipal corporations in India are grossly inadequate to meet their expenditure needs.

    – In India, the own tax revenue of municipal corporations, comprising property tax, water tax, toll tax and other local taxes, formed 31-34% of the total revenue in the FY18-FY20 period. This share was low compared to many other countries and it also declined over time. 

    – Limited funds aside about 70% of it gets spent on salaries, pensions and administrative expenses with the rest left for capital expenditure. Above all, municipal corporations don’t borrow much leaving them gasping for funds.

    Variations in Tax revenue: Large variations can be observed if the municipal corporations’ own tax revenue is sliced State-wise.

    – The own tax revenue of municipal corporations as a share of the State’s GDP in 2017-18 crossed the 1% mark in Delhi, Gujarat, Chandigarh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, while it was 0.1% or less in Karnataka, Goa, Assam and Sikkim.

    Major revenue from property taxes: Municipal corporations’ revenue-raising capabilities are dependent on property taxes. 

    – In 2017-18, the property taxes formed over 40% of the municipal corporations’ own tax revenue. Despite such dominance, property tax collection in India was much lower compared to OECD countries due to undervaluation and poor administration.

    Dependent on Funds: The ​​municipal bodies are increasingly dependent on fund transfers from the State and the Centre. Property taxes are not efficiently collected. The generated funds are mostly spent on revenue expenditure, leaving a much smaller pie for capacity building.

     

  • Remote work helped in saving jobs during COVID: ILO report

    Source: The post is based on the article “Remote work helped in saving jobs during COVID: ILO report” published in The Hindu on 7th January 2023

    What is the News?

    The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has released a report titled ‘Working Time and Work-Life Balance Around the World’.

    What are the key findings of the report?

    The report examines the effects that working hours and time schedules have on the performance of businesses and their employees.

    Covering the periods before and during COVID-19, the report reveals that more than a third of all employees are regularly working more than 48 hours per week, while a fifth of the global workforce is labouring fewer than 35 hours per week on a part-time basis.

    The report found that short-time work and work-sharing measures or other forms of job retention helped people reduce the volume of work and save jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Moreover, the system of reduced working hours and flexible working time arrangements can benefit economies, enterprises and workers and lay the ground for a better and more healthy work-life balance.

    The so-called ‘Great Resignation’ phenomenon has placed work-life balance at the forefront of social and labour market issues in the post-pandemic world.

    However, the report also cautioned that the benefits of some flexible arrangements such as spending more time with the family may also be accompanied by greater gender imbalances and health risks. 

    What are the recommendations given by the report?

    Firstly, countries should continue to support pandemic-era initiatives such as inclusive short-time work schemes, which not only saved jobs but also boosted purchasing power and helped cushion the effects of economic crises.

    Secondly, a public policy shift must happen to reduce the number of working hours in many countries and promote a healthy work-life balance.

    Thirdly, encourage teleworking to help maintain employment and give workers more agency.

    However, to contain potential negative effects, it warned that these and other flexible working arrangements need to be well-regulated, to support what is often called the “right to disconnect” from work.

     

  • Ministry of Road Transport & Highways -Annual report ‘Road accidents in India — 2021’

    Source: The post is based on the article Ministry of Road Transport & Highways -Annual report ‘Road accidents in India — 2021published in PIB on 28th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has published the annual report ‘Road accidents in India — 2021’.

    About Road accidents in India Report 2021

    Purpose: The report provides information on various facets of road accidents in the country during the calendar year 2021. 

    Data source: The report is based on the data/information received from police departments of States/Union Territories collected on a calendar year basis.

    Key Findings of the report

    Road accidents in 2021: There was 4.12 lakh unfortunate incidences of road accidents during 2021 which claimed around 1.5 lakh lives. Young adults in the age group of 18-45 years accounted for 67.6% of victims in 2021.

    – During the previous year 2020, the country saw an unprecedented decrease in accidents, fatalities and injuries. This was due to the unusual outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.

    Major indicators related to accidents have performed better in 2021 when compared to 2019.

    – Road accidents decreased by 8.1% and injuries decreased by 14.8% in 2021 compared to 2019.

    However, fatalities on accounts of road accidents increased by 1.9% in 2021 corresponding to the same period in 2019.

    State-wise: Uttar Pradesh retained its top position in road accident fatalities at the national level like in 2020 accounting for 15.2% of the total fatalities followed by Tamil Nadu (9.4%) Maharashtra (7.3%) and Rajasthan (6.8%).

    Death due to not wearing Helmets/Seatbelts: At least 8 out of every 10 occupants, nearly 83%, killed in accidents across India were not wearing seatbelts. Also, 2 out of every 3 who died in road crashes on two-wheelers were not wearing helmets.

  • ‘Create in India,’ says task force on gaming, animation and VFX

    Source: The post is based on the article “‘Create in India,’ says task force on gaming, animation and VFXpublished in The Hindu on 27th December 2022. 

    What is the News?

    The task force on Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) promotion has submitted its report recently.

    About the task force on AVGC promotion
    Read here: Ministry of I&B Constitutes Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) Promotion Task Force
    About India’s AVGC sector

    India today contributes about $2.5-3 billion of the estimated $260-275 billion worldwide AVGC market.

    The Indian market currently employs about 1.85 lakh AVGC professionals and can witness a growth of 14-16% in the next decade. Further, India also require 20 lakh skilled professionals in the AVGC sector in this decade.

    What are the major recommendations of the AVGC task force?

    The government should a) Conduct a “Create in India” campaign with an exclusive focus on content creation, b) Create an international platform AVGC aimed at attracting foreign direct investment, co-production treaties and innovation in collaboration with international counterparts, c) Facilitate national and regional centres of excellence for skill development, d) Leverage the National Education Policy to develop creative thinking at school level, e) Ministry of Education may advise NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) to create books focusing on subjects relevant to AVGC, f) University Grants Commission (UGC)-recognised curriculum for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, g) Memorandum of Cooperation may be signed between India and other developed global AVGC markets, and h) Democratise AVGC technologies by promoting subscription-based pricing models for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), start-ups and institutions.

  • CPCB report shows fewer polluted river stretches, but worst ones remain unchanged

    Source: The post is based on the article “CPCB report shows fewer polluted river stretches, but worst ones remain unchangedpublished in The Hindu on 26th December 2022. 

    What is the News?

    According to a recent report from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the number of polluted stretches in India’s rivers has fallen from 351 in 2018 to 311 in 2022. However, the number of most polluted stretches is practically unchanged.

    About the working of CPCB report on water quality

    The CPCB network monitors water quality at 4,484 locations across the country.

    Conditions for determining water quality: a) Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) exceeding 3 milligrams per litre (mg/l) is identified as polluted locations, b) A BOD less than 3 mg/l means the river stretch is fit for “outdoor bathing,” and c) Two or more polluted locations identified on a river in a continuous sequence are considered as a “polluted river stretch.

    Categorisation: There are five priority categories. 1) BOD exceeding 30 mg/l are considered “Priority 1” (P1), meaning, the most polluted and thus needing the most urgent remediation, and 2) The rest of the categories “Priority 2” (P2) to P5 were defined based on BOD less than 30mg/l.

    Significance: The success of river-cleaning programmes are measured by the number of stretches moving from 1 to 2, 2 to 3 until those in 5 (requiring the least action) to reduce.

    Reason for the report: The National Green Tribunal passed orders that the CPCB and the Jal Shakti Ministry monitor river pollution and ensure that it was dealt with. Every State had to ensure that at least one river stretch was “restored” to at least be fit for bathing.

    About the recent CPCB report on water quality

    There is almost no change/slight change in the P1 and P2 categories of polluted river stretch from 2018 and the present report. This indicates that further stringent actions are required for control of organic pollution from various point sources of pollution including the development of infrastructure and its proper operation for treatment of wastewater before discharge into recipient water bodies,

    Performance of states: Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of “Priority 1” river stretches (6). Maharashtra had the most polluted river stretches of 55, followed by Madhya Pradesh (19), Bihar (18), and Kerala (18).

    The overall decrease in the net number of identified polluted river stretches, which have shown improvement in water quality, “could be attributed” to the efforts done for infrastructure development for pollution control.

  • Urban-20 (U20) event being organized under G20 presidency of India

    Source: The post is based on the article Urban-20 (U20) event being organized under G20 presidency of Indiapublished in PIB on 22nd December 2022

    What is the News?

    The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is organizing the Urban 20 event under the G20 Presidency of India.

    What is Urban 20 (U20)?

    Urban-20 (U20) is one of the Engagement Groups of G20.

    Purpose: It provides a platform for cities from G20 countries to facilitate discussions on various important issues of urban development including climate change, social inclusion, sustainable mobility, affordable housing and financing of urban infrastructure and propose collective solutions.

    Hosted by: Ahmedabad, a UNESCO World Heritage city will host the U20 event.

    Significance: The initiative facilitates a productive dialogue between the national and local governments and helps promote the importance of urban development issues in the G20 agenda.

    – Note: Ahmedabad became a member of the C40 in 2022 and has been a member of other global alliances like the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives(ICLEI).

    ICLEI is an international coalition of cities and local governments with a shared long-term vision of promoting and supporting voluntary action to combat climate change.

  • Social Progress Index(SPI) for States and Districts received by EAC-PM, released

    Source: The post is based on the articleSocial Progress Index(SPI) for States and Districts received by EAC-PM, released published in PIB on 21st December 2022

    What is the News?

    The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) has released the Social Progress Index(SPI).

    What is the Social Progress Index(SPI)?

    Prepared by: Institute for Competitiveness and Social Progress Imperative and was mandated by the Economic Advisory Council- Prime Minister(EAC-PM).

    Purpose: It is a comprehensive tool that can serve as a holistic measure of a country’s social progress at the national and sub-national levels. 

    Parameters: The index assesses states and districts based on 12 components across three critical dimensions of social progress:

    Social Progress Index(SPI)
    Source: PIB

    Ranking: Based on the SPI scores, states and districts have been ranked under six tiers of social progress with the Tier 1 indicating Very High Social Progress while the Tier 6 indicating Very Low Social Progress.

    Note: The report dwells on India’s performance based on the global Social Progress Index(SPI) that is brought out by Social Progress Imperative since 2013. In its 2022 report, India has been ranked 110th (out of 169 nations) on the index and India’s aggregate SPI score of 60.2 in 2022 is slightly lower than the world average of 65.2.

    What are the key findings of the Social Progress Index(SPI)?

    States ranking: Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Goa have emerged as best-performing among all States and Union Territories in the index while Jharkhand and Bihar as worst.

    District wise: Aizawl (Mizoram), Solan (Himachal Pradesh) and Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) have emerged as the top 3 best-performing districts.

    Aspirational District Programme(ADP): Around 27 out of 112 districts under the ADP have scored above the national average on the SPI.

    What is the significance of Social Progress Index(SPI)?

    Firstly, by evaluating change in the performance of some key social indicators since 2015-16, the report presents a broad picture of the social progress in India.

    Secondly, GDP is an incomplete measure of progress and endeavours such as the SPI, that weave in sociological factors into economic progress provides more robust and reliable analysis.

    Thirdly, the findings in the report will pave the way for policymakers to make informed decisions. 

  • GLAAS Report: Extreme weather events continue to hamper access to potable water, sanitation; urgent action needed: WHO

    Source: The post is based on the article Extreme weather events continue to hamper access to potable water, sanitation; urgent action needed: WHOpublished in Down To Earth on 14th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The World Health Organization(WHO) and UN-Water have released the Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water(GLAAS) report.

    What is the GLAAS Report?

    The GLAAS 2022 report compiles new data on drinking-Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) from 121 countries and territories and 23 External Support Agencies(ESAs).

    It serves as a global reference to inform commitments, priority-setting and actions during the second half of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and for the 2023 Conference for the Review of Implementation of the United Nations Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation (2018–2028).

    What are the key findings of the GLAAS Report?

    Human Resource for WASH Tasks: Less than one-third of countries reported maintaining enough human resources to manage essential Water, Sanitation and Hygiene(WASH) tasks.

    Drinking water and Sanitation Targets: 45% of countries are on track to meet their drinking-water coverage targets, but only 25% are meeting their sanitation targets. More acceleration is needed to achieve national targets.

    Inadequate resources: While WASH budgets in some countries have increased, a significant portion — more than 75% of them — reported having inadequate resources to carry out their WASH plans and objectives.

    Climate Change and WASH: Most WASH policies and plans do not consider climate change threats to WASH services, nor do they take the climate resilience of WASH technology and management systems into account.

    What are the recommendations given by the report?

    Urgent action is required at global and local levels to ensure universal access to WASH in order to avert catastrophic effects of infectious diseases on the health of millions of people.

    In many countries, progress must be accelerated to meet United Nations-mandated (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) six — ensuring universal access to water and sanitation by 2030.

    Governments must also target underserved populations and settings – such as people living in poverty or in remote or hard-to-reach areas – to ensure they also have access to safe, sustainable WASH services.

  • Curbing air pollution in India needs efforts across South Asia: WB report

    Source: The post is based on the article “Curbing air pollution in India needs efforts across South Asia: WB report” published in The Hindu on 15th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The World Bank has released a report titled “Striving for Clean Air: Air Pollution and Public Health in South Asia”.

    What are the key findings of the report?

    Air Pollution in South Asia: South Asia is home to 9 of the world’s 10 cities with the worst air pollution.

    Currently, over 60% of South Asians are exposed to an average 35 µg/m3 of PM2.5 annually. In some parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) it spiked to as much as 100 µg/m3 – nearly 20 times the upper limit of 5 µg/m3 recommended by the World Health Organisation,

    Exposure to such extreme air pollution has impacts ranging from stunting and reduced cognitive development in children to respiratory infections and chronic and debilitating diseases. This drives up healthcare costs, lowers a country’s productive capacity, and leads to lost days worked.

    What are the recommendations given by the report to reduce air pollution in South Asia?

    Airsheds in South Asia: Air pollution travels long distances— crossing municipal, state, and national boundaries—and gets trapped in large “airsheds” that are shaped by climatology and geography. 

    India has six large airsheds, some of them shared with Pakistan, between which air pollutants move. 

    For instance, when the wind direction was predominantly northwest to southeast, 30% of the air pollution in Indian Punjab came from the Punjab Province in Pakistan and on average, 30% of the air pollution in the largest cities of Bangladesh (Dhaka, Chittagong, and Khulna) originated in India. 

    ThiCurbing air pollution in India needs efforts across South Asia: WB reporteans that even if Delhi were to fully implement all air pollution control measures by 2030 while other parts of South Asia continued to follow current policies, it wouldn’t keep pollution exposure below 35 µg/m3. 

    However, if other parts of South Asia also adopted all feasible measures it would bring pollution below that number. 

    Hence, based on these findings the report recommends India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and other South Asian countries establish a dialogue on air pollution to tackle it with an ‘airshed approach’. 

  • Union Minister for Jal Shakti Inaugurates The 7th Edition of India Water Impact Summit

    Source: The post is based on the article Union Minister for Jal Shakti Inaugurates The 7th Edition of India Water Impact Summitpublished in PIB on 15th December 2022

    What is the News?

    Union Minister for Jal Shakti has inaugurated the 7th Edition of the India Water Impact Summit (IWIS) at New Delhi.

    What is the India Water Impact Summit?

    Organized by: National Mission for Clean Ganga(NMCG) along with the Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies(c-Ganga).

    Aim: To impart impetus towards developing water and environmental infrastructure to protect rivers and water bodies in India.

    Theme: ‘Restoration and Conservation of Small Rivers in a Large Basin’ with emphasis on ‘Mapping and Convergence of 5Ps’ – People, Policy, Plan, Programme and Project.

    What is cGanga?

    Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga) was established at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK) in 2016. 

    Purpose: The Centre is a Centre of Excellence for data collection,  the creation and dissemination of knowledge and information for the sustainable development of the Ganga River Basin. 

    The centre acts in the capacity of a comprehensive think-tank to the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).

  • 2022 Prison Census: Number of journalists jailed has reached record high: CPJ report

    Source: The post is based on the article “Number of journalists jailed has reached record high: CPJ report” published in The Hindu on 15th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has released a report titled “2022 Prison Census”.

    Note: The Committee to Protect Journalists(CPJ) is an American independent non-profit, non-governmental organization based in New York with correspondents around the world.CPJ promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists.

    What are the key findings of the report?

    Journalists Jailed: The number of journalists jailed around the world for practising their profession has touched a record high with 363 reporters deprived of their freedom as of December 1, 2022. This figure is a new global high that overtakes last year’s record by 20%.

    Countries with the most journalists jailed: The top five jailers of journalists were Iran, China, Myanmar, Turkey, and Belarus respectively. 

    Reason for jailing Journalists: The key driver behind authoritarian governments’ increasingly oppressive efforts to stifle the media was the intent to keep the lid on broiling discontent in a world disrupted by COVID-19 and the economic fallout from Russia’s war on Ukraine.

    Repression of Minorities: In Iran and Turkey – both classified as “worst offenders” – it was Kurdish journalists who bore the brunt of the government crackdown. In China, too, many imprisoned journalists were Uighurs from Xinjiang.

    What does the report say about India?

    India continues to draw criticism over its treatment of the media, in particular for the use of the preventive detention law, the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act(PSA). This law has been used to keep Kashmiri journalists behind bars after they were granted court-ordered bail in separate cases.

    Moreover, six out of the seven jailed journalists are being investigated under or charged under the anti-terrorism law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Of these seven journalists, three have been in jail for more than a year.

  • World Malaria Report 2022: Malaria cases, deaths begin stabilizing after COVID disruption: WHO

    Source: The post is based on the article “Malaria cases, deaths begin stabilizing after COVID disruption: WHO” published in Down To Earth on 13th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The World Health Organization(WHO) has released the World Malaria Report 2022.

    What are the key highlights from the report?

    Deaths due to Malaria: Despite disruptions to prevention, diagnostic and treatment services during the pandemic, countries around the world have largely held the line against further setbacks to malaria control.

    – There were an estimated 6.19 lakh malaria deaths globally in 2021 compared to 6.25 lakh in the first year of the pandemic in 2020. In 2019, before the pandemic struck, the number of deaths stood at 5.68 lakh. 

    Malaria cases: Malaria cases continued to rise between 2020 and 2021, but at a slower rate than in the period 2019 to 2020. The global tally of malaria cases reached 247 million in 2021, compared to 245 million in 2020 and 232 million in 2019. 

    High-Burden Malaria Countries: Among the 11 high-burden countries, five — the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, India, Niger and the United Republic of Tanzania — recorded a decline in deaths.

    – But these countries continued to contribute heavily to the global disease burden.

    Hurdles against malaria control: Funding to deploy new tools to help defeat malaria, impeding progress due to mutating parasites which can evade rapid diagnostic tests, increasing drug resistance and the invasion of an urban-adapted mosquito in Africa which is resistant to most insecticides used in this geography.

    Progress on ending malaria: The WHO Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030 aims to reduce malaria case incidence and mortality rates by at least 40% by 2020, at least 75% by 2025 and at least 90% by 2030 against a 2015 baseline.

    – In 2021, the case incidence was 48 per cent off track — at 59 cases per 1,000 population at risk, compared to a target of 31. Death incidence is also 48% off track — 14.8 in 2021 against a target of 7.8. If these trends continue, the world will be 88% off target in its fight against malaria.

  • What’s in the World Bank’s new toolkit on making urban transport better for Indian women?

    Source: The post is based on the article “What’s in the World Bank’s new toolkit on making urban transport better for Indian women?” published in Indian Express on 11th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The World Bank has released a report titled “Toolkit on Enabling Gender Responsive Urban Mobility and Public Spaces in India” with the aim of suggesting ways to make public transport in Indian cities more inclusive of women’s traveling requirements.

    What are the problems faced by women in using public transport services?

    Women are amongst the biggest users of public transport across Indian cities. 

    84% of trips taken by women for work were estimated to be by public, intermediate public, and non-motorised transport.

    However, public transport services are not traditionally designed keeping in mind women’s safety and their specific travel needs.

    Lack of safety, dearth of good street lighting, no reliable last mile transport and high waiting time at remote bus stops are just some of the challenges women face in this regard. This severely limits their access to work, education and life choices. 

    India has amongst the lowest female labour force participation rates globally, at 26.2 percent in 2020-21.

    What are the recommendations given by the World Bank to enable gender-responsive urban mobility?

    The World Bank has suggested a four-pillar implementation structure for urban entities to construct a gender-responsive urban transportation and public spaces programme:

    First, there has to be a greater effort made to understand the on-ground situation with a gender lens.

    Second, once prevailing issues are identified, policies and development plans must reflect the concerns of women. For this to happen, there must be more women in key institutions in charge of decision-making. 

    Third, the toolkit emphasizes on building gender sensitivity and awareness among service providers through mandatory programmes and community action. 

    Fourth, investment has to be made in better infrastructure and services with a focus on women-friendly design.

  • Only 31% women own mobile phones, says Oxfam report on India digital divide

    Source: The post is based on the article “Only 31% women own mobile phones, says Oxfam report on India digital divide” published in Hindustan Times on 7th December 2022

    What is the News?

    Oxfam has released a report titled ‘India Inequality Report 2022: Digital Divide’. The report highlights the extent of the digital divide in India and its impact on essential services such as education, health and financial inclusion.

    What is Digital Divide?

    Digital divide refers to the gap between individuals, households, businesses and geographic areas at different socio-economic levels with regard to both their opportunities to access information and communication technologies(ICTs) and to their use of the internet for a wide variety of activities.

    What are the key findings of the report?

    61% of men-owned mobile phones in 2021 compared to just 31% of women. 

    Only 31% of the rural population uses the Internet compared to 67% of their urban counterparts.

    The reach of digital technologies remains largely limited to male, urban, upper-caste, and upper-class individuals. While 8% of the general caste have access to a computer or a laptop, less than 1% of the Scheduled Tribes (ST) and 2% of the Scheduled Castes(SC) afford it.

    The use of computer devices has decreased in rural areas. While 3% of the rural population used to own a computer before the pandemic, the number slipped to just 1% post-Covid.

    The employment status of Indians also proved to be linked to access to digital services as 95% of the permanent salaried workers have phones, as compared to only 50% of the unemployed.

    The digital push driven by the pandemic resulted in India experiencing the largest number of real-time digital transactions in 2021 at 48.6 billion. However, the likelihood of a digital payment by the richest 60% is four times more than the poorest 40% in India.

    Among states, Maharashtra has the highest internet penetration, followed by Goa and Kerala, while Bihar has the lowest, followed by Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

    What are the recommendations given by the report to bridge the digital divide?

    a) Improve internet availability in rural and hard-to-reach areas through community networks and public Wi-Fi/ internet access points, b) Improve affordability by investing in digital infrastructure, bringing a strong regulatory framework and lowering taxes on computers and phones, c) Conduct digital literacy camps, especially in rural India, and digitize panchayats and schools, and  d) Grievance redressal mechanism to handle EdTech and Healthtech related complaints.

  • Global report on health equity for persons with disabilities: Health inequities to be blamed for premature deaths among people with disabilities: WHO

    Source: The post is based on the article “Health inequities to be blamed for premature deaths among people with disabilities: WHO” published in Down To Earth on 5th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The World Health Organization(WHO) has released a report titled- “Global report on health equity for persons with disabilities”.

    What are the key highlights from the report?

    Data related to PwDs: Approximately 1.3 billion people or 16% of the population has significant disability.

    – Because of the systemic and persistent health inequities, many persons with disabilities face the risk of dying much earlier—even up to 20 years earlier—than persons without disabilities.

    – They have more than double the risk of developing conditions such as diabetes, stroke or depression. 

    – PwDs have more limitations in functioning – for example, inaccessible health facilities are up to 6 times more hindering for them. 

    Factors for inequity in Healthcare to PwDs: 1) Hostile attitudes of healthcare providers, 2) Non-comprehensible health information formats, 3) Physical barriers, lack of transportation, or financial constraints that prevent access to a health center.

    What are the recommendations given by the report?

    Firstly, the report recommends 40 disability-targeted actions in areas like Political commitment, governance, Health financing etc  

    Secondly, it recommends 3 principles for all governments and health sector partners: 1) Include health equity for PwD at the centre of any health sector action, 2) Ensure empowerment and meaningful participation of PwD in implementing any health sector action and 3) Monitor and evaluate the extent to which health sector actions lead to health equity for PwD. 

    Thirdly, Governments, health partners and civil society should ensure all health sector actions are inclusive of persons with disabilities so that they can enjoy their right to the highest standard of health.

  • State of Finance for Nature report: Double financing for natural ecosystems by 2025 to deal with climate, biodiversity crises: UN report

    Source: The post is based on the article “Double financing for natural ecosystems by 2025 to deal with climate, biodiversity crisis: UN report” published in Down To Earth on 4th December 2022

    What is the News? 

    The second edition of the State of Finance for Nature report has been released.

    What is the State of Finance for Nature report?

    Released by:  UN Environment Programme(UNEP) along with the Economics of Land Degradation initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification(UNCCD) and the European Commission.

    Purpose: The report quantifies public and private finance flows to nature-based solutions (NbS) to tackle global challenges related to biodiversity loss, land degradation and climate change.  

    What are Nature-based solutions(NbS)?

    Nature-based solutions(NbS) are actions to protect, sustainably manage, or restore natural ecosystems that address societal challenges such as climate change, human health, food and water security, and disaster risk reduction effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.

    What are the key findings of the report related to NbS financing?

    Finance flows to nature-based solutions(NbS) are currently US$154 billion per year. Under this, public funds make up 83% of the total and the private sector contributes approximately 17%.

    This finance flow is less than half of the US$384 billion per year investment in NbS needed by 2025 and only a third of the investment needed by 2030 (US$484 billion per year) 

    What are the recommendations given by the report?

    Firstly, financing for NbS needs to be doubled to deal with multiple global crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation.

    Secondly, there is a need for private investments in nature-based solutions. For this, private companies must create a sustainable supply chain, reduce activities that negatively impact climate and biodiversity, offset any unavoidable activities through high-integrity nature markets, pay for ecosystem services and invest in nature-positive activities. 

  • India saw highest levels of Covid-19 related religious hostilities in 2020: Pew Research Center

    Source: The post is based on the article “India saw highest levels of Covid-19 related religious hostilities in 2020: Pew Research Center” published in The Hindu on 5th December 2022

    What is the News?

    According to a Pew Research Center report, India saw the highest level of religious hostilities during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

    About Pew Research Center Report

    The Pew Research Center’s study on restrictions on religion around the world is published every year.

    The report measures levels of restrictions in 198 countries and self-governing territories using two 10-point indexes: the Government Restrictions Index (GRI) and the Social Hostilities Index (SHI). 

    The 198 countries included in the study account for more than 99.5% of the world’s population.

    What is the Social Hostilities Index?

    Purpose: To measure acts of religious hostility by private individuals, organizations or groups. 

    Parameters: The index comprises 13 questions that measure hostilities both between and within religious groups, including mob or sectarian violence, crimes motivated by religious bias, physical conflict over conversions, harassment for attire for religious reasons, and other religion-related intimidation and violence.

    Key Findings related to India: India saw the highest level of religious hostilities during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

    At a score of 9.4 out of 10, India fared the worst in Social Hostilities Index in 2020, more than its neighbours Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    India was also among the countries in which private individuals or organizations linked the spread of the coronavirus to religious groups citing the circulation of Islamophobic hashtags such as “Corona Jihad”.

    What is the Government Restrictions Index(GRI)?

    Purpose: It looks at laws, policies and state actions restricting religious beliefs and practices. 

    Parameters: The GRI comprises 20 measures including efforts by governments to ban particular faiths, prohibit the conversion, limit preaching or give preferential treatment to one or more religious groups. 

    Key Findings: China ranked the worst with a score of 9.3. 

    – India was ranked 34th with a score of 5.8. India was categorized among countries with “high” levels of government restrictions. 

  • Adivasis at bottom rung of India’s development pyramid, finds Tribal Development Report 2022

    Source: The post is based on the article “Adivasis at bottom rung of India’s development pyramid, finds Tribal Development Report 2022” published in Down To Earth on 2nd December 2022

    What is the News?

    Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation(BRLF) has released the Tribal Development Report 2022. It is claimed to be the first of its kind report since 1947.

    Note: BRLF was set up by the Government of India in 2013 as an independent society under the Union Ministry of Rural Development to scale up civil society action in partnership with central and state governments.

    What is the Tribal Development Report 2022?

    The report focuses on the status of tribal communities at an all-India level and central India in particular.

    Note: Central India is home to 80% of the tribal communities in the country.

    What are the key findings of the report?

    Tribal Population: India’s tribal communities form 8.6% of the country’s population according to the 2011 Census.

    – Of the 257 Scheduled Tribe districts, 230 (90%) are either forested or hilly or dry. But they account for 80% of India’s tribal population.

    Tribals most deprived: Tribals are at the bottom of the country’s development pyramid even after 75 years of independence.

    Be it sanitation, education, nutrition, or access to drinking water and education, despite 70 years of independence, they are the most deprived.

    Reason for deprivation: Tribal areas are areas that have faced a lot of disturbance and conflict. This is one of the reasons why many government welfare schemes and policies are unable to take off in these areas.

    Tribal rights and environment: During British colonial rule, the bond between Adivasis and their relation of symbiosis with their immediate environment was ruptured.

    – After the enactment of the Forest Conservation Act in 1980, the conflict came to be seen as between environmental protection and the needs of local Adivasi communities, driving a wedge between people and forests.

    – It was in the National Forest Policy of 1988 that domestic requirements of local people were explicitly recognised for the very first time.

    – The Policy emphasized safeguarding their customary rights and closely associating Adivasis in the protection of forests. But the movement towards a people-oriented perspective has not been matched by reality on the ground.

    What is the way forward suggested by the report?

    It is important to understand the special characteristics of tribal communities to frame policies for them.

    There are many tribal communities that prefer isolation and silence. They are shy and are not going to reach out to the outside world on their own. 

    Hence, policymakers and leaders of the country need to understand this trait and then work towards the welfare of Adivasis so that they connect with them in a better way.

  • Over 160-200 million Indians could be exposed to lethal heat waves annually: World Bank

    Source: The post is based on the article “Over 160-200 million Indians could be exposed to lethal heat waves annually: World Bank” published in The Hindu on 1st December 2022.

    What is the News?

    The World Bank has released a report titled “Climate Investment Opportunities in India’s Cooling Sector”.

    What are the key findings of the report?

    Impact of Higher Temperatures on India: By 2030, over 160-200 million people across the country could be exposed to lethal heat waves annually. 

    Around 34 million people in India will face job losses due to heat stress-related productivity decline.

    Due to this, by 2037, the demand for cooling is likely to be eight times more than current levels. This means there will be a demand for a new air-conditioner every 15 seconds leading to an expected rise of 435% in annual greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades.

    Recognizing this challenge, India is already deploying new strategies to help people adapt to rising temperatures. In 2019, India launched the India Cooling Action Plan(ICAP).

    The report proposes a roadmap to support ICAP through new investments in three major sectors: Building construction, Cold chains and Refrigerants.

    What is the roadmap suggested by the report in these three major sectors?

    Building construction: 

    Firstly, adopt climate-responsive cooling techniques as a norm in both private and government-funded constructions. This can ensure that those at the bottom of the economic ladder are not disproportionately affected by rising temperatures.

    – The report suggests that India’s affordable housing program for the poor, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(PMAY) can adopt such changes on a scale.

    Secondly, enact a policy for district cooling which could lead to the consumption of 20-30% less power than the most efficient conventional cooling solutions. District cooling technologies generate chilled water in a central plant which is then distributed to multiple buildings via underground insulated pipes. This brings down the cost for providing cooling to individual buildings.

    Fix Gaps in Cold Chains Network: To minimize rising food and pharmaceutical wastage during transport due to higher temperatures, the report recommends fixing gaps in cold chain distribution networks. Investing in pre-cooling and refrigerated transport can help decrease food loss by about 76% and reduce carbon emissions by 16%.

    Refrigerants: India aims to phase out the production and use of ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) which are used as coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators by 2047. 

    – The report recommended improvements in servicing, maintenance and disposal of equipment that use HCFCs alongside a shift to alternative options with a lower global warming footprint. 

    – This can create 2 million jobs for trained technicians over the next two decades and reduce the demand for refrigerants by around 31%.

  • INDO-PACIFIC REGIONAL DIALOGUE 2022(IPRD)

    Source: The post is based on the article INDO-PACIFIC REGIONAL DIALOGUE 2022(IPRD) published in PIB on 23rd November.

    What is the News?

    Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) is scheduled to be held from 23 to 25 November 2022.

    What is Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue(IPRD)?

    IPRD is an apex-level international annual conference of the Indian Navy.

    Organized by: National Maritime Foundation(NMF) 

    Note: NMF was established in 2005. It is the nation’s sole maritime think-tank that concentrates upon the entire gamut of activities relevant to India’s maritime interests and has gained significant international traction for the conduct of independent, original and policy-relevant research on all ‘matters maritime’. 

    Purpose: It is an annual international conference that seeks to foster an exchange of ideas and promote deliberations on maritime issues relevant to the Indo-Pacific.

    Theme of 2022: ‘Operationalising the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI)’

    What is the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative(IPOI)?

    The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative(IPOI) was articulated by the Indian Prime Minister at the 14th East Asia Summit (EAS) in 2019. 

    It is a comprehensive and inclusive construct for regional cooperation that is focused on seven interconnected spokes or pillars: 1) Maritime Security, 2) Maritime Ecology, 3) Maritime Resources, 4) Disaster Risk-reduction and Management, 5) Trade-Connectivity and Maritime Transport, 6) Capacity-building and Resource sharing and 7) Science, Technology and Academic Cooperation.

  • India jumps 2 spots higher and now ranks 8th as per Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI, 2023)

    Source: The post is based on the articleIndia jumps 2 spots higher and now ranks 8th as per Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI, 2023)published in PIB on 22nd November 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Climate Change Performance Index 2023 has been released.

    What is the Climate Change Performance Index?

    Released by: German Watch, New Climate Institute and Climate Action Network International based in Germany. 

    Published since: 2005

    Aim: To enhance transparency in international climate politics and enable comparison of climate protection efforts and progress made by individual countries.

    Parameters: CCPI assesses each country’s performance in four categories: GHG Emissions (40% of the overall ranking), Renewable Energy (20%), Energy Use (20%) and Climate Policy (20%).

    What are the key findings of the index related to India?

    Ranking: ​​India has been ranked 8th amongst a group of 59 countries and the European Union. It has risen two spots since last year.

    Denmark, Sweden, Chile and Morocco were the only four small countries that were ranked above India as 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th respectively. The first, second and third ranks were not awarded to any country. 

    In effect, therefore, India’s rank is the best among all large economies.

    Observations: India earned a high rating in the GHG Emissions and Energy Use categories, while a medium for Climate Policy and Renewable Energy. 

    The aggressive policies of India towards rapid deployment of renewables and robust framework for energy efficiency programs have shown considerable impact. 

    As per the Index, India is on track to meet its 2030 emissions targets (compatible with a well-below- 2°C scenario).

    Significance: The ranking given by CCPI places India as the only G-20 country in the top 10 ranks.

    India will now be assuming G-20 Presidency, and it will be an opportune time to show the world about its climate mitigation policies. Such as the deployment of renewable sources of energy and other energy transition programmes.

  • Dynamic Groundwater Resources of India 2022: Groundwater report waters down aquifer-level data, say experts

    Source: The post is based on the article “Groundwater report waters down aquifer-level data, say experts” published in Business Standard on 22nd November 2022.

    What is the News?

    Union Minister of Jal Shakti has released the Dynamic Groundwater Resources of India 2022.

    What are the key findings of the report?
    Dynamic Groundwater Resources of India 2022
    Source: Business Standard

    Groundwater: The total annual groundwater recharge for the country this year has increased by 1.29 billion cubic meters(bcm), in contrast with the last assessment conducted in 2020. 

    – The total annual extractable groundwater resources have also increased by 0.56 bcm.

    – However, the annual groundwater extraction for irrigation, domestic and industrial uses has decreased by 5.76 bcm during this period.

    Major consumer of Groundwater resources: The agriculture sector is the predominant consumer of groundwater resources.

    – About 87% of the total annual groundwater extraction is for irrigation use. Only 30.69 bcm is for domestic and industrial consumption which is about 13% of the total extraction.

    Of the total 7,089 assessment units in the country, a) 1,006 units or 14% have been categorized as over-exploited, b) 260 units or 4% as critical, c) 885 units or 12% as semi-critical and d) 4,780 units or 67% as safe.

    State-wise Groundwater Extraction: The overall stage of groundwater extraction in the country is 60.08%.

    – The stage of groundwater extraction is very high in the states of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu where it is more than 100%.

    – In the states of Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and UTs of Chandigarh, Lakshadweep and Puducherry, the stage of groundwater extraction is between 60-100%.

    – In the rest of the states, the stage of groundwater extraction is below 60 %.

    Impact of rock formations: The type of rock formations and their storage and transmission characteristics have a significant influence on groundwater recharge. 

    – Porous formations such as the alluvial formations in the Indo-Ganga-Brahmaputra basin generally have high specific yields and are good repositories of groundwater. 

    – Groundwater occurrence in the fissured formations occupying nearly two-thirds of the geographical area of the country, on the other hand, it is mostly limited to the weathered, jointed and fractured portions of the rocks.

    What are the issues with this Groundwater Report?

    According to experts, the groundwater data showing an increase in recharge and a decrease in extraction may not be offering an accurate representation. This is because the assessment units are too large in size and too few in number to present a micro-level picture.

  • India climbs up six slots and now placed at 61st rank as per Network Readiness Index 2022

    Source: The post is based on the articleIndia climbs up six slots and now placed at 61st rank as per Network Readiness Index 2022published in PIB on 19th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Network Readiness Index(NRI) 2022 has been released.

    What is the Network Readiness Index?

    Prepared by: Portulans Institute, an independent non-profit institute based in Washington DC.

    Aim: To rank the network-based readiness landscape of 131 economies based on their performances in four different pillars: Technology, People, Governance, and Impact – using 58 different indicators. 

    What are the key takeaways from NRI 2022?

    India: ​​India has improved its position by six slots and is now placed at 61st rank.

    – India leads in several indicators. It has secured a) 1st rank in “AI talent concentration”, b) 2nd rank in “Mobile broadband internet traffic within the country” and “International Internet bandwidth”, c) 3rd rank in “Annual investment in telecommunication services” and “Domestic market size”, d) 4th rank in “ICT Services exports” and e) 5th rank in “FTTH/Building Internet subscriptions” and “AI scientific publications”.

    – India has a greater network readiness than would be expected given its income level.  

    – India is ranked 3rd out of 36 in the group of lower-middle-income countries after Ukraine (50) and Indonesia (59). India has a score higher than the income group average in all pillars and sub-pillars.

    Globally: The United States takes the 1st spot from the Netherlands (4th) as the most network-ready society. 

    – The biggest mover is Singapore (2nd) which surged from the seventh position to second in this year’s index.

  • Moscow Format: India takes part in Moscow talks on forming ‘inclusive government’ in Afghanistan

    Source: The post is based on the article “India takes part in Moscow talks on forming ‘inclusive government’ in Afghanistan” published in The Hindu on 17th November 2022

    What is the News?

    India participated in the fourth meeting of the Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan held in Moscow, Russia.

    What is Moscow Format?

    Moscow format is one of the several dialogue platforms on Afghanistan which began before the Taliban takeover of Kabul.

    The format consists of Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and India.

    What were the issues discussed at the 4th Moscow Format?

    The participants discussed issues related to Afghanistan. These include 1) the current humanitarian situation and the ongoing efforts of various stakeholders to provide assistance, 2) intra-Afghan talks, 3) the formation of an inclusive and representative government and 4) efforts to counter threats of terrorism and ensure regional security.

  • War causing immense human suffering: G20 declaration

    Source: The post is based on the article “War causing immense human suffering: G20 declaration” published in The Hindu on 17th November 2022

    What is the News?

    The G20 Bali Declaration was finally adopted by consensus even though it failed to overcome serious differences over the Russia-Ukraine war.

    What are the key highlights of the G20 Bali Declaration?

    On Russia-Ukraine war: The declaration acknowledged differences among members on the Russia-Ukraine war but stressed that it was “essential to uphold international law and the multilateral system” as “today’s era must not be of war”.

    – It also said that the threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.

    – The declaration also recognised that G20 is not the forum to resolve security issues. However, it agreed that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.

    On Terrorism: The declaration called upon the international community to “step up” efforts to counter money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing and urged the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and FATF Style Regional Bodies to “lead global action” to respond to these threats.

    Other issues covered: The declaration covered a range of issues from climate change to corruption, and from Covid vaccination to imparting computer skills to women.

    How has India contributed to this G20 declaration?

    The G20 declaration proclaimed “today’s era must not be of war”, echoing the Indian PM’s remarks before the Russian President on the sidelines of the SCO summit in September.

    The declaration also strongly endorsed the Indian PM’s emphasis on three key points: the threat of the use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible, diplomacy and dialogue and today’s era must not be of war.

  • India moves two ranks in climate performance index

    Source: The post is based on the article “India moves two ranks in climate performance index” published in Indian Express on 16th November 2022

    What is the News?

    The Climate Change Performance Index 2023 has been released by Germanwatch, the New Climate Institute and the Climate Action Network.

    What is the Climate Change Performance Index?

    Climate Change Performance Index(CCPI) is an independent monitoring tool for tracking the climate protection performance of 59 countries and the European Union which together generate over 92% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

    Aim: To enhance transparency in international climate politics and enable comparison of climate protection efforts and progress made by individual countries.

    Parameters: CCPI assesses each country’s performance in four categories: GHG Emissions (40% of the overall ranking), Renewable Energy (20%), Energy Use (20%) and Climate Policy (20%).

    What are the key findings of CCPI 2023?

    India’s Ranking: India has been ranked 8th amongst a group of 59 countries and the European Union. It has risen two spots since last year.

    – Parameter-wise, India has earned a high rating in the GHG Emissions and Energy Use categories with a medium for Climate Policy and Renewable Energy.

    Observations made on India: India had increased its climate targets in the NDC (nationally determined contributions) and also announced a net zero target for 2070. 

    – However, India’s climate actions were still not consistent with the 1.5 degree Celsius goal. For instance, India has plans to increase its oil and gas production by over 5% by 2030. This is incompatible with the 1.5-degree Celsius target.

    Globally: Denmark and Sweden have been assessed to be the top performers this year as well.

    – China has been ranked 51st. It has dropped 13 places mainly because of the country’s continued reliance on coal and lack of clarity on long-term climate policies. 

    – The United States has been ranked 52nd. It has risen three ranks because of the recent climate measures announced by the US administration.

  • World Population Prospects 2022: India’s Population Growth Appears To Be Stabilising: United Nations

    Source: The post is based on the following articles

    “India’s Population Growth Appears To Be Stabilising: United Nations” published in NDTV on 16th November.

    “World @ 8 billion, India set to be most populous” published in Indian Express on 15th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations has released the World Population Prospects 2022.

    According to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the world population touched eight billion on November 15, 2022. India was the largest contributor to the milestone having added 177 million people of the last billion people born in the world.

    What are the key findings of the report about India’s population?
    World population prospects 2022
    Indian Express

    -India’s population growth appears to be stabilising. The Total Fertility Rate has declined from 2.2 to 2.0 at the national level.

    -A total of 31 states and Union Territories (constituting 69.7 per cent of the country’s population) have achieved fertility rates below the replacement level of 2.1.

    Reasons for the decline: a) Adoption of modern family planning methods (from 47.8% in 2015-16 to 56.5% in 2019-21), b) Reduction in unmet need for family planning by 4% over the same period and c) Significant improvements in access to family planning related information and services.

    All this shows India’s national population policies and health systems are working.

    India’s population is a global resource: The UNFPA has said India is a youthful nation with the largest cohort of young people anywhere in the world. India’s “youth bulge” will last till 2025.

    Since many parts of the world are ageing, India’s youthful population can be a global resource to solve global problems.

    What are the key findings of the report about the global population?

    -The world’s population will continue to grow to around 10.4 billion in the 2080s. But, the overall rate of growth is slowing down.

    -The world is more demographically diverse than ever before, with countries facing starkly different population trends ranging from growth to decline.

    -Population growth has become increasingly concentrated among the world’s poorest countries, most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.

    -As of 2022, more than half the world’s population lives in Asia, China and India being the two most populous countries with more than 1.4 billion people each.

    China: China is projected to enter a “severe ageing” phase in 2035 with 400 million people above 60 years. This can be blamed mainly on its decades of the one-child policy.

    What are the major recommendations of the report?

    To all countries: The world needs to a) invest in each person to achieve a quality of life that allows them to thrive equally and with dignity in the modern world, b) build inclusive societies and sustainable economies, and c) Provide good quality of life to people and lift up and empower most marginalised sections.

    To India: The government needs to focus on a) gender equality with the greatest youth generation in history, b) Providing world-class innovation in digital public goods.

  • LeadIT Summit 2022 hosted by India and Sweden at COP27, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

    Source: The post is based on the articleLeadIT Summit 2022 hosted by India and Sweden at COP27, Sharm El Sheikh, Egyptpublished in PIB on 15th November 2022

    What is the News?

    India and Sweden hosted the LeadIT Summit on the sidelines of COP27.

    What is the LeadIT Initiative?

    Leadership Group for Industry Transition(LeadIT) was launched by the governments of Sweden and India at the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019 and is supported by the World Economic Forum. 

    The initiative gathers countries and companies that are committed to action to achieve the Paris Agreement.

    Purpose: LeadIT members subscribe to the notion that energy-intensive industries can and must progress on low-carbon pathways, aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

    Secretariat: It is hosted by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Sweden.

    What is the significance of this initiative?

    The low carbon transition of the industrial sector will not only contribute towards the reduction in required greenhouse gas emissions. 

    It has several co-benefits that include increasing resilience to changes in climate, enhanced energy security, innovation, socio-economic development and job creation.

  • The significance of the Bali G-20 summit

    Source: The post is based on the article “The significance of the Bali G-20 summit” published in The Hindu on 15th November 2022

    What is the News?

    The 17th annual summit of G20 countries is being organized at Bali, Indonesia.

    What is G20?

    Click Here to read

    What is the agenda of the 17th G20 Summit?

    The motto for this G-20 is Recover Together, Recover Stronger. 

    Key Priorities: The summit will have three key priorities:

    Global Health Architecture: This involves deliberations towards strengthening global health resilience and making the global health system more inclusive, equitable, and responsive to crises.

    Digital Transformation: Deliberations here have centered on achieving the full potential of rapid digitalisation of the global economy by creating a new landscape of cooperation among nations.

    Sustainable Energy Transition: The discussions have focussed on ways to accelerate the transition towards cleaner energy sources. In particular, since any such transition requires substantial investments, the efforts have been focused on finding a platform for such investments.

    What makes this G-20 different from others?

    For the world, this is the first G-20 since Russia began the war in Ukraine and the west imposed sanctions on Russia. Efforts will be made to build global consensus over issues that have clearly divided the world. 

    For India, the importance of the summit of the world’s most advanced economies is that it is India’s turn to host the summit next. 

  • Financing India’s infrastructure: India has to invest $55 billion p.a. in urban infra to meet needs of growing population: World Bank report

    Source: The post is based on the article “India has to invest $55 billion p.a. in urban infra to meet needs of growing population: World Bank report” published in The Hindu on 15th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    Recently, the World Bank released a report titled “Financing India’s Infrastructure Needs: Constraints to Commercial Financing and Prospects for Policy Action.” The report underlines an urgent need to leverage more private and commercial investments to meet emerging financial gaps.

    Why India needs to finance India’s Infrastructure?

    According to the report, by 2036, 600 million people will be living in urban cities in India, representing 40% of the population. This will put additional pressure such as more demand for clean drinking water, reliable power supply, efficient and safe road transport amongst others.

    What are the key findings about financing India’s Infrastructure projects?

    Slow implementation of Centre’s schemes by states and ULBs: There is a slow implementation performance by States and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) on several of the Centre’s flagship Urban Missions such as Smart Cities Mission and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).

    For example, ULBs across India have so far executed only about one-fifth of the cumulative cost or outlay of approved projects under SCM and AMRUT over the last six financial years.

    Low private participation: Currently, the central and State governments finance over 75% of city infrastructure, while ULBs finance 15% through their own surplus revenues.

    Only 5% of the infrastructure needs of Indian cities are currently being financed through private sources.

    A decline in PPP transactions: Public Private Partnership (PPP) transactions for urban infrastructure have registered a marked decline in the last decade both in monetary value and transaction volume.

    Low PPP project awards: PPP project awards have seen a substantial spike between the years 2007 and 2012 when most of these projects were awarded. Only one-third of all PPP investments awarded since 2000 came in the last decade— including 55 projects worth $17 billion, the report stated.

    Low revenue of Indian infra projects: This is due to policy decisions to keep tariffs and service charges below levels required for cost recovery and financial sustainability.

    What are the key suggestions of the report to improve financing India’s infrastructure?

    Need additional urban funding: India will need to invest $840 billion over the next 15 years into urban infrastructure to effectively meet the needs of its fast-growing urban population. Cities in India need large amounts of financing to promote green, smart, inclusive, and sustainable urbanization.

    Creating a conducive environment for ULBs: Currently, the 10 largest ULBs were able to spend only two-thirds of their total capital budget over three recent fiscal years. India needs to create a conducive environment such as creditworthiness for ULBs to enable them to borrow more from private sources.

    Medium-term solutions: A series of structural reforms such as changes in taxation policy and fiscal transfer system can allow cities to leverage more private financing.

  • Vice President leads delegation at the 19th ASEAN-India Summit in Cambodia

    Source: The post is based on the article Vice President leads delegation at the 19th ASEAN-India Summit in Cambodiapublished in PIB on 13th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Vice President is leading India’s delegation at the 19th ASEAN-India Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

    Note: This year marks the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations and is being celebrated as the ASEAN-India Friendship Year.

    What are the key highlights from the 19th ASEAN-India Summit?

    ASEAN and India adopted a joint statement announcing the elevation of the existing Strategic Partnership to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. 

    Both sides reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, maritime safety and security, freedom of navigation and overflight in the Indo-Pacific region.

    They agreed to enhance cooperation in the space sector through the establishment of Tracking, Data reception and Processing Stations in Vietnam and Indonesia. 

    India-ASEAN Relations Timeline

    India’s focused engagement with ASEAN started in 1992 when India launched its Look East policy and became a sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN. 

    In 1996 India became a dialogue partner and subsequently a summit level partner in 2002. 

    At the 20th Commemorative Summit held in New Delhi in 2012, India-ASEAN relations were elevated to a strategic partnership. 

    In 2014, India revamped the Look East policy as the Act East policy to add strategic focus to engagements with ASEAN.

  • Rule of Law Index: India Ranks 77 Out Of 140 Countries, Improves In Order & Security Parameter

    Source: The post is based on the article “Rule of Law Index: India Ranks 77 Out Of 140 Countries, Improves In Order & Security Parameter” published in The Quint on 13th November 2022

    What is the News?

    According to the Rule of Law Index 2022, rule of law has declined globally for the fifth consecutive year.

    What is the Rule of Law?

    WJP defines the rule of law as a durable system of laws, institutions, norms, and community commitment that delivers: 1) accountability (government and private bodies), 2) just law (the law which is clear and stable), 3) open government (accessible), and 4) impartial justice system.

    What is the Rule of Law Index?

    Released by: World Justice Project (WJP), an International civil society organization.

    Parameters: The index is prepared by examining these above four principles through eight factors: 1) constraints on government powers, 2) absence of corruption, 3) open government, 4) fundamental rights, 5) order and security, 6) regulatory enforcement, 7) civil justice and 8) criminal justice.

    What are the key findings of the index?

    Globally: Denmark has topped the index followed by Norway, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands.

    According to the index, rule of law has declined globally for the fifth consecutive year. It says that the checks on executive power are weakening, and respect for human rights is falling.

    India: Overall, India has been ranked 77 out of 140 countries.

    – On individual parameters, India ranks 94 out of 140 as far as adherence to fundamental rights is concerned, 111 out of 140 in civil justice, 89 out of 140 in criminal justice and 93 out of 140 in absence of corruption.

  • Significant inefficiencies: RBI report on municipal corporations

    Source: The post is based on the article “Significant inefficiencies: RBI report on municipal corporations” published in Indian Express on 11th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released a document titled “Report on Municipal Finances”.

    What are the key observations made by the report?

    On Municipal Corporations (MCs): The rapid growth of urbanization in India has not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in urban infrastructure which is reflected in the performance of urban local bodies especially Municipal Corporations(MCs). For instance,

    – The size of municipal budgets in India is much smaller than peers in other countries. 

    – The share of MCs own revenues (those they can raise on their own from tax and non-tax sources) has been declining and the share of government transfers has been increasing — which indicates a growing fiscal dependency on such grants from higher levels of government. 

    – Municipal revenues/expenditures in India have stagnated at around 1% of GDP for over a decade. In contrast, municipal revenues/ expenditures account for 7.4% of GDP in Brazil and 6% of GDP in South Africa.

    – MCs committed expenditure in the form of establishment expenses, administrative costs and interest and finance charges is rising but capital expenditure is minimal.

    – MCs mostly rely on borrowings from banks and financial institutions and loans from Centre and State governments to finance their resource gaps in the absence of a well-developed market for municipal bonds.

    On State Finance Commission(SFC): State governments have not set up state finance commissions(SFCs) in a regular and timely manner even though they are required to be set up every five years. 

    – Accordingly, in most of the States, SFCs have not been effective in ensuring rule-based devolution of funds to Local governments.

    What are the suggestions given by the report?

    Municipal corporations should adopt sound and transparent accounting practices with proper monitoring and documentation of various receipts and expenditure items. 

    MCs should explore different innovative bond and land-based financing mechanisms to augment their resources.

    In order to improve the buoyancy of municipal revenue, the Centre and the states may share one-sixth of their GST revenue with them.

  • 2015-22 on track to be the eight warmest years on record: WMO

    Source: The post is based on the article 2015-22 on track to be the eight warmest years on record: WMO published in TOI on 7th November 2022. 

    What is the News?

    The State of the Global Climate report 2022 has been released by the World Meteorological Organization(WMO).

    What are the key findings of the report?
    State of the Global Climate report 2022
    Source: ToI

    Global mean temperature in 2022: The global mean temperature in 2022 is currently estimated to be about 1.15°C above the pre-industrial level (1850-1900 average). This makes it difficult to meet the goal of keeping warming within the 1.5°C goal by the end of the century.

    Eight warmest years on record: Fuelled by ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat, the past eight years (2015-22) are on track to be the eight warmest on record.

    – The warmest year on record so far has been 2016, when the global mean temperatures were measured to be about 1.28 degree Celsius higher than pre-industrial times.

    Impact of rise in temperature: The impact of rise in temperature can be seen in 1) record breaking rain in July and August that led to flooding in Pakistan, 2) large parts of Europe sweltered in repeated episodes of extreme heat and 3) UK saw a new national record in July, when the temperature topped more than 400C for the first time.

    Vulnerable population most affected: The report flagged how global warming made every heatwave more intense and life-threatening especially for vulnerable populations.

    Sea Level rise: The rate of sea level rise has doubled since 1993. It has risen by 10 mm since January 2020 to a new record high this year. The past two and a half years alone account for 10% of the overall rise in sea level.

  • Level of groundwater extraction lowest in 18 years, finds study

    Source: The post is based on the article “Level of groundwater extraction lowest in 18 years, finds study” published in The Hindu on 10th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    Union Minister of Jal Shakti has released the Dynamic Ground Water Resource Assessment Report for the entire country for the year 2022.

    About the Dynamic Ground Water Resource Assessment Report

    The assessment was carried out jointly by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), States and Union Territories.

    Such joint exercises between the CGWB and States/Union Territories were carried out earlier in 1980, 1995, 2004, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2020.

    What are the key findings of the report?

    Main Source of Groundwater: The main source of replenishable ground water resources is recharge from rainfall, which contributes to nearly 61% of the total annual groundwater recharge. India receives about 119 cm. of rain annually on average with high spatial variation. 

    – A major part of the country receives rainfall mainly during the South West(SW) Monsoon season, spread over the months of June to September, except in Tamil Nadu where the major contribution is from the NE monsoon during the period October– December.

    Groundwater usage in India:  The total annual groundwater recharge for the entire country is 437.60 billion cubic meters(BCM).

    – The analysis indicates an increase in groundwater recharge which may mainly be attributed to increasing in recharge from canal seepage, return flow of irrigation water and recharges from water bodies/tanks & water conservation structures.

    Groundwater extraction in India saw an 18-year decline. The total annual groundwater extraction (as in 2022) has been assessed as 239.16 bcm.

    – Out of the total 7089 assessment units in the country, 1006 units have been categorized as ‘Over-exploited’.

    – There is also an improvement in groundwater conditions in 909 assessment units in the country compared with 2017 assessment data.

  • A third of world heritage glaciers under threat, warns UNESCO study

    Source: The post is based on the article A third of world heritage glaciers under threat, warns UNESCO studypublished in The Hindu on 6th November 2022. 

    What is the News?

    A study conducted by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has found that one-third of the glaciers on the UNESCO World Heritage list are under threat, regardless of efforts to limit temperature increases.

    What are the key findings of the study?

    Around 50 UNESCO World Heritage sites are home to glaciers representing almost 10% of the Earth’s total glacierized area.

    These glaciers have been retreating at an accelerated rate since 2000 due to CO2 emissions, which are warming temperatures.

    They are currently losing 58 billion tons of ice every year – equivalent to the combined annual water use of France and Spain – and are responsible for nearly 5% of observed global sea-level rise.

    The glaciers under threat are in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and Oceania.

    Africa: All World Heritage sites in Africa will very likely be gone by 2050 including Kilimanjaro National Park and Mount Kenya.

    Asia: Glaciers in Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas (China) – highest mass loss relative to 2000 (57.2%) and also the fastest melting glacier on the List.

    Europe: Glaciers in Pyrenees Mont Perdu (France, Spain) – very likely to disappear by 2050.

    What is the importance of Glaciers?

    Half of humanity depends directly or indirectly on glaciers as their water source for domestic use, agriculture, and power. Glaciers are also pillars of biodiversity, feeding many ecosystems.

    When glaciers melt rapidly, millions of people face water scarcity and the increased risk of natural disasters such as flooding, and millions more may be displaced by the resulting rise in sea levels.

    What are the suggestions given by the study?

    Firstly, it is possible to save the other two-thirds of the glaciers on the UNESCO World Heritage list if the rise in global temperatures did not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial era.

    Secondly, there is also a need for the creation of a new international fund for glacier monitoring and preservation. Such a fund would support comprehensive research, promote exchange networks between all stakeholders and implement early warning and disaster risk reduction measures.

    Thirdly, there is an urgent need to cut greenhouse gas emissions and invest in nature-based solutions, which can help mitigate climate change and allow people to better adapt to its impacts.

  • India saw natural disasters almost every day in first 9 months of 2022: CSE report

    Source: The post is based on the article “India saw natural disasters almost every day in first 9 months of 2022: CSE report” published in DTE on 1st November 2022. 

    What is the News? 

    According to a report by the Delhi-based non-profit organization Centre for Science(CSE), India saw natural disasters almost every day in the first 9 months of 2022. 

    What are the key findings of the report? 

    India recorded extreme weather events on 242 of the 273 days from January 1 through September 30, 2022. These include heatwaves, cold waves, cyclones, lightning, heavy rainfall, floods and landslides. 

    Worst Hit: Madhya Pradesh was the worst hit, with one event every second day. 

    Loss and Damage: The number of deaths due to these events was the highest in Himachal Pradesh. Assam reported the highest number of damaged houses and animal deaths. 

    Note: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) in its working definition of loss and damage says that it is “negative effects of climate variability and climate change that people have not been able to cope with or adapt to”.  

    Region-wise: Central and north-western India reported the highest number of days with extreme weather events. 

  • Ministry of Education releases report on Performance Grading Index for States/UTs for the year 2020-21

    Source: The post is based on the following articles:

    Ministry of Education releases report on Performance Grading Index for States/UTs for the year 2020-21published in PIB on 3rd November 2022.

    PGI 2020-21 for school education: Punjab among top 7 states; outperforms Delhi once again”  published in Indian Express on 4th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education has released the Performance Grading Index(PGI) for States/UTs for 2020-21.

    What is the Performance Grading Index(PGI)?

    Purpose: To provide insights and data-driven mechanisms on the performance and achievements of the success of school education across all States/UTs.

    Objective: To promote evidence-based policymaking and highlight course correction to ensure quality education for all. 

    Parameters: PGI structure comprises 1000 points across 70 indicators grouped into 2 categories: Outcomes, Governance Management(GM). 

    – These categories are further divided into 5 domains, viz., Learning Outcomes (LO), Access (A), Infrastructure & Facilities (IF), Equity (E) & Governance Process (GP).

    Classification: PGI 2020-21 classified the States/UTs into ten grades viz., the highest achievable Grade is Level 1, which is for State/UT scoring more than 950 points out of a total of 1000 points. The lowest grade is Level 10 which is for scores below 551.

    What are the key findings of the PGI 2021-22?

    A total of 7 States and UTs namely Kerala, Punjab, Chandigarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh have attained Level 2 (score 901-950) as compared to none in 2017-18 and 4 in 2019-20.

    The newly formed UT Ladakh has made significant improvements in PGI from Level 8 to Level 4 in 2020-21.

    What is the significance of PGI 2021-22?

    It is expected to help States and UTs to pinpoint the gaps and accordingly prioritize areas for intervention to ensure that the school education system is robust at every level.

    It will also encourage states to perform better and to adopt best practices followed by performers.

  • Adaptation target not keeping pace with growing risks: UNEP Report

    Source: The post is based on the article “Adaptation target not keeping pace with growing risks: UNEP Report” published in Business Standard on 4th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    The United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) has released the Adaptation Gap Report 2022 titled “Too Little, Too Slow: Climate adaptation failure puts world at risk”.

    Note: Adaptation refers to adjustments in ecological, social or economic systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and their effects or impacts.

    What are the key findings of the report?

    Climate impacts are increasing across the globe. A multi-year drought in the Horn of Africa, unprecedented flooding in South Asia and severe summer heat and record-breaking droughts across multiple regions of the Northern Hemisphere among others point to mounting and ever-increasing climate risks. 

    Ambitious, accelerated action to adapt to climate change is therefore paramount together with strong mitigation efforts. 

    Global efforts in adaptation planning, financing and implementation continue to make incremental progress but fail to keep pace with increasing climate risks. 

    For instance, a third of the 197 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have incorporated quantified and time-bound targets for adaptation. And 90% of them have considered gender and disadvantaged groups. 

    But on the other hand, international adaptation finance flows are 5-10 times lower than required and this gap continues to grow. Finance for adaptation increased to $29 billion in 2020 — only 4% increase over 2019.

    This is when developing countries’ estimated annual adaptation needs are $160-$340 billion by 2030 and $315-$565 billion by 2050.

    What are the recommendations given by the report?

    The adaptation gap must be addressed in four critical ways:

    The first is to increase financing for adaptation.

    Second, the world urgently needs a new business model for turning adaptation priorities into investable projects.

    The third is the availability of climate risk data and information — an issue for adaptation planning in many developing countries.

    The fourth priority is the implementation and operationalisation of early warning systems against extreme weather events and slow onset changes such as sea level rise.

  • Ministry of Education released a detailed Report on Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) 2021-22

    Source: The post is based on the following articles:

    a. “Ministry of Education released a detailed Report on Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) 2021-22published in PIB on 3rd November 2022.

    b. “Decline in pre-primary enrolments continued in 2021-22, says government report”  published in The Hindu on 4th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Ministry of Education has released a detailed report on Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) 2021-22 on school education of India.

    What is UDISE+?

    Developed by: Department of School Education & Literacy in the year 2018-19.

    Mandate: To collect online data from the schools to overcome the issues related to the erstwhile practice of manual data filling in paper format.

    Information collected through UDISE+ is utilized for the planning, optimized resource allocation and implementation of various education-related programs and assessments of progress made.

    Data: UDISE+ collects information on parameters ranging from school, Infrastructure, teachers, enrolments, examination results etc.

    – In UDISE+ 2021-22, additional data on important indicators viz., digital library, peer learning, hard spot identification, number of books available in school library etc have been collected for the first time to align with the NEP 2020 initiatives.  

    What are the key findings of UDISE+ 2021-22?
    UDISE+ 2021-22
    Source: Indian Express

    Enrollment: In 2021-22, the total number of students enrolled in school education from primary to higher secondary stood at 25.57 crores as compared to 25.38 crore enrolment in 2020-21 registering an increase of 19.36 lakh enrolments. 

    – However, the number of children entering pre-primary classes in 2021-2022 saw a further decline, resulting in 30% fewer students in this school section as compared to the pre-COVID period.

    – Further, the enrolment in primary classes which include classes 1 to 5, also saw a drop for the first time—falling from 12.20 lakh in 2020-2021 to 12.18 lakh in 2021-2022.

    State wise: Uttar Pradesh has witnessed the highest enrollment of students in government schools and recruitment of teachers.

    A decline in Schools: For the first time since the pandemic, there was a decline in the number of schools due to closures as well as a lack of teachers.

    — There were 20,000 fewer schools in 2021-2022 as the total number of schools dropped from 15.09 lakh to 14.89 lakh. These were primarily schools under “private and other management”.

    Computer and Internet Facilities: Computer facilities were available in 44.75% of schools, while Internet access was available only in 33.9% of schools. However, their availability has improved as compared to pre-Covid when only 38.5% of schools had computers and 22.3% had Internet facilities.

    Gross Enrollment Ratio(GER): It compares the enrollment in a specific level of education to the population of the corresponding age group.

    – GER for the primary section has improved from 101.3% in 2018-2019 to 104.8% in 2021-2022. For secondary classes, it has risen to 79.6% in 2021-22, from 76.9% in 2018-19 and for higher secondary level, it has increased from 50.14% to 57.6%.

    Gender Parity Index(GPI) of GER which indicates the representation of girls in school with respect to their population in the corresponding age group was also found to be favourable to girls with a GPI value of 1.

  • Emissions Gap Report 2022: Emissions in India, 6 other nations top pre-Covid levels

    Source: The post is based on the articleEmissions in India, 6 other nations top pre-Covid levelspublished in Indian Express on 28th October 2022

    What is the News?

    The ‘Emissions Gap Report 2022’ has been released.

    What is the Emissions Gap Report 2022?

    Released by: United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) 

    This is the 13th edition of the report.

    Title: ‘The Closing Window — Climate Crisis Calls For Rapid Transformation of Societies’

    Aim: To provide an overview of the difference between where greenhouse emissions are predicted to be in 2030 and where they should be to avert the worst impacts of climate change. 

    What are the key findings of the Emissions Gap Report 2022?

    The world is falling short of the goals set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement adopted in 2015.

    No credible pathway is currently in place to restrict global warming to under 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

    The top seven emitters (China, the EU27, India, Indonesia, Brazil, the Russian Federation and the United States of America) plus international transport accounted for 55 percent of global GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions in 2020.

    These seven countries’ GHG emissions have rebounded in 2021 exceeding pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

    Collectively, G20 members are responsible for 75 percent of global GHG emissions.

    The global average per capita GHG emissions was 6.3 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) in 2020.

    What are the recommendations given by the Emissions Gap Report 2022?

    The world needs to reduce greenhouse gasses by unprecedented levels over the next eight years.

    There is a need for alternative technologies in heavy industry, to reverse the rise in the carbon intensity of global steel production.

    Urgent transformation is needed to deliver the enormous cuts needed to limit GHG emissions by 2030.

  • Global TB report – 2022: 21.4 lakh TB cases notified in India in 2021, 18% higher than 2020: Health Ministry

    Source: The post is based on the article “21.4 lakh TB cases notified in India in 2021, 18% higher than 2020: Health Ministry” published in The Hindu on 29th October 2022

    What is the News?

    The World Health Organization(WHO) has released the Global TB report – 2022.

    What are the key findings of the Global TB report – 2022?

    The COVID-19 pandemic has set back years of progress made on nearly every indicator on tuberculosis (TB) front. 

    New cases in 2021 — an estimated 10.6 million people — increased by 4.5% from 2020 while the burden of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) increased by three per cent in the same duration. These figures have increased for the first time in many years.

    Global spending on essential TB services decreased from $6 billion in 2019 to $5.4 billion in 2021.

    The report also noted the crucial role of nutrition and undernutrition as contributory factors to the development of active TB disease.

    What does India’s Ministry of Health data say on TB cases in India?

    India’s TB incidence for the year 2021 is 210 per 100,000 population – compared to the baseline year of 2015 (incidence was 256 per lakh population in India). There has been an 18% decline which is 7 percentage points better than the global average of 11%.

    The TB cases placed India at the 36th position in terms of incidence rates (from the largest to the smallest incidence numbers).

  • In 2020, over 3,30,000 people died in India due to exposure to particulate matter from fossil fuel combustion: Lancet

    Source: The post is based on the articleIn 2020, over 3,30,000 people died in India due to exposure to particulate matter from fossil fuel combustion: Lancetpublished in The Hindu on 25th October 2022

    What is the News?

    A report has been released titled “The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: health at the mercy of fossil fuels”.

    About the Lancet report on Health and Climate Change

    The report is published annually. The report represents the work of 99 experts from 51 institutions, including the World Health Organization(WHO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and is led by University College London. 

    The report tracks 43 indicators across five key domains: a) Climate change impacts, exposures and vulnerability; b) Adaptation, planning, and resilience for health; c) Mitigation actions and health co-benefits; d) Economics and finance and d) Public and political engagement.

    Note: This report comes ahead of this year’s United Nations climate change conference (COP27), to be held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

    What are the key findings of the report?

    Impact of rising temperature and extreme Heat: Between 2012-2021, infants under one year old experienced a higher number of heatwave days compared to 1985–2005.

    – Heat-related deaths increased 68% globally between 2017-21, reaching 3.1 lakh deaths per year. The death toll was significantly increased by the Covid-19 pandemic’s confluence.

    – In India, the number of heat-related deaths among those over 65 increased by 55% between 2000-04 and 2017-21.

    Fossil Fuel Subsidies: Subsidies to fossil fuel consumption in many countries are causing global problems, including deterioration of air quality, a decline in food output and increased risk of infectious disease linked to higher carbon emissions.

    In 2021, 80% of the countries reviewed provided some form of fossil fuel subsidy, totalling $400 billion.

    – In 2019, India spent a net $34 billion on fossil fuel subsidies, accounting for 5% of total national health spending. According to the report, over 3.3 lakh people died in India in 2020 as a result of exposure to fossil fuel pollutants.

    Impact on the Economy: In 2021, Indians lost 167.2 billion potential labour hours due to heat exposure with income losses equivalent to about 5.4% of the national GDP.

    Dengue Transmission: From 1951-1960 to 2012-2021, the number of months suitable for dengue transmission by Aedes Aegypti rose by 1.69%, reaching 5.6 months each year.

    What are the recommendations given by the report?

    Firstly, improvement in air quality will help in preventing deaths resulting from exposure to fossil fuel-derived particulate matter.

    Secondly, develop climate solutions that are proportionate to the scale of the problem. 

    Thirdly, the government should invest more resources in environmental protection.

    Fourthly, the burning of dirty fuels needs to be minimized as soon as possible to reduce the accompanying health impacts.

  • This September was 5th warmest in 143 years: NOAA report

    Source: The post is based on the article “This September was 5th warmest in 143 years: NOAA report” published in Indian Express on 22nd October 2022.

    What is the News?

    The US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) in its latest report have said that September was the fifth warmest in 143 years.

    What are the key highlights from the NOAA report?

    2022 could feature among the 10 warmest years ever recorded on Earth.

    September 2022 was the fifth warmest in 143 years with the recorded global average temperature rising by 0.88 degrees Celsius over the 20th-century average.

    Higher than normal temperatures were recorded over Africa, North America, southern Asia, Atlantic and northern South America regions. 

    Near normal or cooler temperatures were recorded over Europe, northern Asia, most parts of India and the southeastern Pacific Ocean. This was mainly due to above-average rainfall over northern and southern Asia, Australia, Central Europe, Caribbean islands and the Southeastern US.

    Sea Ice extent: The sea-ice extent coverage dropped to the eighth lowest ever. The Arctic sea ice now covers 5.95 lakh square miles below the 1981-2010 average, whereas the Antarctica sea ice is 1.90 lakh square miles below average.

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