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[op-ed snap] Spirit Of Sendai

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Disaster Management | Disaster & disaster management

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Sendai Framework

Mains level: Disaster vulnerability of India & Asia as a whole and steps that can be taken to mitigate disaster risks


Context

Asia’s vulnerability to disasters

  1. No other region in the world illustrates the now chronic nature of displacement caused by extreme weather events and climate change more than Asia and the Pacific
  2. Asia accounted for almost 50 per cent of the worldwide loss of life from disasters last year
  3. Last year, 18.8 million people were forced to run for their lives from floods, storms and earthquakes in 135 countries across the globe
  4. 11.4 million people were from across East and South Asia and the Pacific islands
  5. Reports suggest that a million people have been displaced by heavy monsoon rains, floods and landslides in India and Bangladesh, where the cyclone season also threatens

Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

  1. It was held in Ulaanbaatar, capital of Mongolia, early July
  2. The conference has been convening every two years since 2005
  3. The focus of the discussions was on the clear need for accelerated implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030
  4. It is the global plan to reduce disaster losses that was adopted in Japan three years ago

About Sendai Framework

  1. It sets out seven targets for
  • reduction in loss of life,
  • numbers of people affected,
  • economic losses and damage to infrastructure through enhanced international cooperation,
  • better risk information and
  • early warning systems

The plan also sets a deadline of 2020 for a substantial increase in the number of countries with national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction

Disaster risk mitigation

  1. Both India and Mongolia have adopted national strategies aligned with the Sendai Framework’s priorities
  2. Both are investing in developing and maintaining national disaster loss databases, which are essential to guide risk-informed investment at the local level in critical infrastructure such as housing, schools, hospitals, public utilities and transport links
  3. Their example must be emulated by many other countries across the region because it is at the local level that the work of prevention and risk reduction starts to pay a dividend in terms of resilience
  4. It is also at the local level that most progress can be made on ensuring an inclusive approach to disaster risk management, one which includes the insights and experiences of those who may be marginalised and disproportionately affected by disaster events
  5. Women, girls, youth, older persons, persons living with disabilities and indigenous people should be actively recruited as agents of change in their communities

Way forward

  1. Rapid scale of urbanisation across the region is an opportunity to do development in a risk-informed, resilient way that avoids creating future disasters
  2. More than anything, it is the human cost of disasters that is the most compelling argument for action
  3. Real progress will bring down the numbers of families and people internally displaced by disasters
Disasters and Disaster Management – Sendai Framework, Floods, Cyclones, etc.

[op-ed snap] India needs to focus on water efficiency

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Different types of irrigation & irrigation systems storage

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Composite Water Management Index (CWMI)

Mains level: Impending water crisis in India and ways to tackle it


Context

Water scarcity in India

  1. Over the past few months, concern and awareness about water resources have reached an unprecedented high
  2. Two successive events have led to such a watershed change in discussion on water resources
  3. First, the news came in that Shimla is running out of water and was forced to turn away tourists that drive the city’s economy during summer
  4. Second, NITI Aayog released the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) in June

Findings in CWMI

  1. The CWMI is a pioneering exercise that seeks to identify, target and improve key water resources-related indicators
  2. The index has a set of 28 key performance indicators (KPIs) covering irrigation status, drinking water and other water-related sectors. Critical areas such as source augmentation, major and medium irrigation, watershed development, participatory irrigation practices, sustainable on-farm water use practices, rural drinking water, urban water supply and sanitation
  3. This index highlighted the current plight, showing how low-performing states house approximately 50% of India’s population, and how 21 major cities may run out of the groundwater by 2021

Water usage pattern in India

  1. Presently, irrigation water use accounts for 80% of the available water, i.e. 700 BCM
  2. Within the limited availability of 1,137 BCM, we need to cater to the growing demand of the population, including domestic water requirement, industrial requirement, ecology sustenance, and power generation requirement
  3. The present level of irrigation efficiency for surface and groundwater is 30% and 55%, respectively

Measures that need to be taken

First, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Telangana and other water-deficient states should promptly move towards micro-irrigation systems

  • Conventional surface irrigation provides 60-70% efficiency, whereas, higher efficiency of up to 70-80% with sprinkler and 90% with drip irrigation systems can be achieved

Second, the states should continue to focus on command area development (CAD)

  • This is now part of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) which focuses on “more crop per drop”
  • CAD will play a critical role in bridging the gap between irrigation potential created (IPC) and irrigation potential utilized (IPU)

Third, the cropping patterns in the states should be changed as per the agro-climatic zones

  • Improper cropping patterns affect both crop productivity and irrigation efficiency
  • Now it is time to focus on more nuanced aspects of water-use efficiency and agriculture productivity

Fourth, we need to address the issue of fragmentation in farming

  • There are two measures to tackle this issue
  • States can expedite the adoption of the Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016—which can lead to consolidation of small farms
  • The second option may provide early gains—creating and ramping up farmer producer organizations (FPO)
  • FPOs provide a sense of ownership to farmers and encourage community-level involvement with lower transaction costs
  • Almost 70% farmers in India are marginal farmers and the average farm size is 1.15 hectares. Therefore, there is a huge opportunity in forming the FPOs
  • This will lead to economies of scale on farm produce, water-usage and cost of production

Way Forward

  1. The above measures have huge scope for changing the landscape of water efficiency in the irrigation sector, which accounts for the majority of water resource consumption in India
  2. Doubling farmers income by 2022 is a noble vision, but preserving water resources for the sustainable growth of India is as critical
Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc.

Rescuing the rupee: A peek into the RBI’s arsenal

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Mobilization of resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Fall of the rupee in recent times and factors affecting its value


News

Rupee may slump further

  1. With the current-account deficit set to widen, thanks to higher oil prices and outflows from stocks and bonds, the rupee could be in for some more weakness
  2. Increasing the interest rate and burning billions in foreign reserves have done little to reverse the rupee’s standing as Asia’s worst-performing currency this year
  3. India could turn to other weapons in its arsenal if things deteriorate further

Factors affecting rupee

  1. Trade wars
  2. Sanctions on Iran
  3. Oil prices
  4. The US Fed rate decisions

Tools available with RBI

1 Raising rates

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI)hiked rates for the first time in four years in June and is likely to follow through in the coming months
  • Part of the reason behind a rate hike is to maintain stability on the rupee front
  • The central bank doesn’t target the exchange rate and attributes any rate moves to its goal of containing rising prices

2 Intervention

  • The RBI is suspected to have intervened regularly in the foreign exchange market
  • India’s foreign exchange reserves fall to $406 billion
  • Of these nearly $100 billion are in short-term debt, assets which the RBI considers are hot money and can leave the country anytime

Higher tariffs

  • The trade war is a new weapon in town
  • India, with its past experience of relying on higher duties to curtail imports, could use it to curb current-account deficit
  • In the aftermath of taper-tantrums in 2013, India hiked import duty on gold bullion and jewellery. That saw inflows shrink, helping narrow the current-account gap

Tap non-residents

  • One of the last resorts will be to turn to wealthy non-resident Indians to replenish precious foreign currency reserves
  • India has that option and also a sovereign bond issuance

Fight panic

  • Verbal intervention is always an option
  • RBI officer had said that India has sufficient “firepower” to deal with the rupee’s decline
Economic Indicators-GDP, FD,etc

Failure to educate girls could cost world $30 trillion a year: World Bank report

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Role of women & women’s organization

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Enrloment ratio of girls in primary & secondary education across the world and how it leads to poor life quality for them


News

Low enrolment of girls

  1. More than 130 million girls are out of school globally, the World Bank said
  2. About 132 million girls worldwide aged 6 to 17 do not attend school, while fewer than two-thirds of those in low-income nations finish primary school, and only a third finish lower secondary school
  3. Failing to let girls finish their education could cost the world as much as $30 trillion in lost earnings and productivity annually

Positive impacts of completing secondary school education for girls

  1. Women who have completed secondary education are more likely to work and earn on average nearly twice as much as those with no schooling
  2. Women who have completed secondary education are at lesser risk of suffering violence at the hands of their partners and have children who are less likely to be malnourished and themselves are more likely to go to school
  3. There will be a reduction in child marriage
  4. Lower fertility rates in countries with high population growth
  5. Reduced child mortality and malnutrition
Women empowerment issues: Jobs,Reservation and education

India became third largest economy in 2011: World Bank

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Growth

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: International Comparison Program (ICP)

Mains level: India’s status in world trade and future prospects


News

Largest economy tag

  1. In a matter of six years, India emerged as the world’s third-largest economy in 2011 from being the tenth largest in 2005
  2. This data was released by the International Comparison Program (ICP), hosted by the Development Data Group at the World Bank Group

Major findings

  1. According to the ICP, six of the world’s 12 largest economies were in the middle-income category (based on the World Bank’s definition)
  2. The 12 largest economies accounted for two-thirds of the world economy and 59 per cent of the population
  3. The six largest middle-income economies — China, India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico — account for 32.3 per cent of world GDP, whereas the six largest high-income economies — US, Japan, Germany, France, UK and Italy — account for 32.9 per cent

Back2Basics

International Comparison Program (ICP)

  1. ICP is a partnership of various statistical administrations of up to 199 countries guided by the World Bank
  2. The main partners of this program are the World Bank, IMF, UN, ADB, OECD, CISSTAT, Eurostat, AfDB ESCWA, ECLAC, DFID, ABS, IDB, NMoFA who are also all part of the executive board
  3. The Program produces internationally comparable price and volume measures for gross domestic product (GDP)
  4. Its component expenditures are based on purchasing power parities (PPP’s)
  5. The International Comparison Program holds surveys collecting price and expenditure data for the entire range of final goods and services at intervals of some few years (the last two were separated by six years)
  6. The ICP tries to make different countries GDPs comparable by calculating them in PPP both currency converters and spatial price deflators
  7. The ICP has published its PPP results eight times so far – the first time for 1970 (a preliminary study for 1967 was also carried out) and the latest for 2011
Economic Indicators-GDP, FD,etc

RBI flags States’ fiscal stress

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Mobilization of resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: FRBM targets

Mains level: The continuous cycle of Farm loan waivers and its detrimental effect on economy


News

Risk of higher expenditure

  1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has pointed to the fiscal stress that States are facing due to several factors including farm loan waivers
  2. In a report ‘State Finances: A Study of Budgets of 2017-18 and 2018-19,’ the central bank noted that States’ consolidated gross fiscal deficit (GFD) overshot the budget estimates in 2017-18 due to shortfalls in own tax revenues and higher revenue expenditure

What could this mean?

  1. Since the combined GFP to GDP was at 6.4% as compared with the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Committee’s (FRBM) medium-term target of 5%, there is a risk that private investment gets crowded out of the finite pool of financial resources
  2. Risks are also likely to emanate from possible higher pre-election expenditure in more than 10 States and implementation of the balance pay commission awards
  3. With States continuing announcements and roll-out of farm loan waivers, the budgeted GFD could be at risk, and additional borrowing requirement could produce a concomitant impact on the already elevated borrowing yields

Effect of farm loan waivers

  1. These have a dampening impact on rural credit institutions
  2. Waivers impact credit discipline
  3. They vitiate credit culture and dis-incentivise borrowers to repay loans, thus engendering moral hazard
Economic Indicators-GDP, FD,etc

Pigment in Goa mushroom may help fight cancer

Termitomyces mushrooms

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Achievements of Indians in science & technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Pigment discovered and its uses

Mains level: Science research being carried out in India


News

World’s first sulphur-rich edible melanin

  1. The mycological laboratory of the Department of Botany, Goa University has reported the discovery of a new pigment from local wild mushrooms
  2. The new sulphur-rich melanin biopigment is obtained from local Roen alamis (wild variety of Goan mushrooms that grows on termite hills) or Termitomyces species

About the research

  1. This discovery shows the chemical nature of the brown or black colour that is seen in these wild edible mushrooms
  2. The problem had eluded the scientific community from 40 countries for the past 100 years
  3. The scientist claim it to be the world’s first sulphur-rich edible melanin. Its structure is similar to black pigment found in human hair
Innovations in Sciences, IT, Computers, Robotics and Nanotechnology