Industrial Sector Updates – Industrial Policy, Ease of Doing Business, etc.

Manufacturing PMI hits 8-month high

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PMI

Mains level : Not Much

India’s manufacturing sector rebounded in July, with sales and output growing at the fastest pace since November. The PMI quickened last month to 56.4, from June’s 9-month low of 53.9.

Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)

  • PMI is an indicator of business activity — both in the manufacturing and services sectors.
  • It is a survey-based measure that asks the respondents about changes in their perception of some key business variables from the month before.
  • It is calculated separately for the manufacturing and services sectors and then a composite index is constructed.
  • The PMI is compiled by IHS Markit based on responses to questionnaires sent to purchasing managers in a panel of around 400 manufacturers.

How is the PMI derived?

  • The PMI is derived from a series of qualitative questions.
  • Executives from a reasonably big sample, running into hundreds of firms, are asked whether key indicators such as output, new orders, business expectations and employment were stronger than the month before and are asked to rate them.

How does one read the PMI?

  • A figure above 50 denotes expansion in business activity. Anything below 50 denotes contraction.
  • Higher the difference from this mid-point greater the expansion or contraction. The rate of expansion can also be judged by comparing the PMI with that of the previous month data.
  • If the figure is higher than the previous month’s then the economy is expanding at a faster rate.
  • If it is lower than the previous month then it is growing at a lower rate.

What are its implications for the economy?

  • The PMI is usually released at the start of the month, much before most of the official data on industrial output, manufacturing and GDP growth becomes available.
  • It is, therefore, considered a good leading indicator of economic activity.
  • Economists consider the manufacturing growth measured by the PMI as a good indicator of industrial output, for which official statistics are released later.
  • Central banks of many countries also use the index to help make decisions on interest rates.

 

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Industrial Sector Updates – Industrial Policy, Ease of Doing Business, etc.

Core Sector output expands by 12.7%

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Core Industries

Mains level : Read the attached story

India’s eight core sectors’ output growth moderated to 12.7% in June, from 18.1% in May, with all sectors except crude oil registering an uptick in production.

What are the Core Industries in India?

  • The main or the key industries constitute the core sectors of an economy.
  • In India, there are eight sectors that are considered the core sectors.
  • They are electricity, steel, refinery products, crude oil, coal, cement, natural gas and fertilizers.

Index of Eight Core Industries (ICI) vs Index of Industrial Production (IIP)

[A] Index of Eight Core Industries

  • The monthly Index of Eight Core Industries (ICI) is a production volume index.
  • ICI measures collective and individual performance of production in selected eight core industries viz. Coal, Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Refinery Products, Fertilizers, Steel, Cement and Electricity.
  • Prior to the 2004-05 series six core industries namely Coal, Cement, Finished Steel, Electricity, Crude petroleum and Refinery products constituted the index basket.
  • Two more industries i.e. Fertilizer and Natural Gas were added to the index basket in 2004-05 series. The ICI series with base 2011-12 will continue to have eight core industries.

Components covered in these eight industries for the purpose of compilation of index are as follows:

  • Coal – Coal Production excluding Coking coal.
  • Crude Oil – Total Crude Oil Production.
  • Natural Gas – Total Natural Gas Production.
  • Refinery Products – Total Refinery Production (in terms of Crude Throughput).
  • Fertilizer – Urea, Ammonium Sulphate (A/S), Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN), Ammonium chloride (A/C), Diammonium Phosphate (DAP), Complex Grade Fertilizer and Single superphosphate (SSP).
  • Steel – Production of Alloy and Non-Alloy Steel only.
  • Cement – Production of Large Plants and Mini Plants.
  • Electricity – Actual Electricity Generation of Thermal, Nuclear, Hydro, imports from Bhutan.

[B] Index of Industrial Production

  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index for India which details out the growth of various sectors in an economy such as mineral mining, electricity and manufacturing.
  • The all India IIP is a composite indicator that measures the short-term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to that in a chosen base period.

Difference between the two

  • IIP is compiled and published monthly by the National Statistics Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation six weeks after the reference month ends.
  • However, ICI is compiled and released by Office of the Economic Adviser (OEA), Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), and Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
  • The Eight Core Industries comprise nearly 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
  • These are Electricity, steel, refinery products, crude oil, coal, cement, natural gas and fertilisers.

Importance of Core Industries

  • The core sectors have a major impact on the Indian economy and significantly affect most other industries as well.
  • Their measures help account for the physical volume of production in India.
  • Their analysis offers a clearer and more realistic assessment of what’s happening in the economy
  • Their progress is used by government agencies for policy-making purposes.
  • They remain extremely relevant for the calculation of the quarterly and advanced Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates.
  • The core sector is also known as Infrastructure output as they represent the basic industries that form the base of the economy.

Do you know about the Strategic Sectors?

The government has identified four strategic sectors where the presence of state-run companies will be reduced to a minimum.

  1. Atomic energy, space and defence
  2. Transport and telecommunications
  3. Power, petroleum, coal and other minerals and
  4. Banking, insurance and financial services

 

Try this PYQ:

Q.In the ‘Index of Eight Core Industries’, which one of the following is given the highest weight?

(a) Coal production

(b) Electricity generation

(c) Fertilizer production

(d) Steel production

 

Post your answers here.

 

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Economic Indicators and Various Reports On It- GDP, FD, EODB, WIR etc

What is Household Consumption Expenditure Survey (HCES)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : HCES

Mains level : Not Much

The Centre has kicked off the process for conducting the quinquennial Household Consumption Expenditure Survey (HCES) this month.

What is the Household Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES)?

  • The HCES is traditionally a quinquennial (recurring every five years) survey conducted by the government’s National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).
  • It is designed to collect information on the consumer spending patterns of households across the country, both urban and rural.
  • Typically, the Survey is conducted between July and June and this year’s exercise is expected to be completed by June 2023.

Why HCES?

  • The HCES is used to arrive at estimates of poverty levels as well as review key economic indicators like Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • The results of the survey are also utilised for updating the consumption basket and for base revision of the Consumer Price Index.
  • It helps generate estimates of household Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure (MPCE) as well as the distribution of households and persons over the MPCE classes.
  • It is used to arrive at estimates of poverty levels in different parts of the country and to review economic indicators such as the GDP, since 2011-12.

Why need this survey?

  • India has not had any official estimates on per capita household spending.
  • It provides separate data sets for rural and urban parts, and also splice spending patterns for each State and Union Territory, as well as different socio-economic groups.

What about the previous survey?

  • The survey was last held in 2017-2018.
  • The government announced that it had data quality issues.
  • Hence the results were not released.

 

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Innovation Ecosystem in India

Karnataka tops India Innovation Index List

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : India Innovation Index

Mains level : Not Much

Karnataka has bagged the top rank in NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index, 2022, which determines innovation capacities and ecosystems at the sub-national level.

India Innovation Index (III)

  • The release of the second edition of the index—the first was launched in October 2019—demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment to transforming the country into an innovation-driven economy.
  • The index attempts to create an extensive framework for the continual evaluation of the innovation environment of all states and UTs in India.
  • It intends to perform the following three functions-
  1. Ranking of states and UTs based on their index scores
  2. Recognizing opportunities and challenges, and
  3. Assisting in tailoring governmental policies to foster innovation
  • The states have been bifurcated into three categories: major states, northeast and hill states, and union territories/city-states/small states.

Significance

  • The study examines the innovation ecosystem of Indian states and union territories.
  • The aim is to create a holistic tool that can be used by policymakers across the country to identify the challenges to be addressed and strengths to build on when designing policies.

Highlights of the 2022 index

  • Karnataka has held this position, under the Major States category, in all three editions of the Index so far.
  • It was followed by Telangana, Haryana, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar and Gujarat were at the bottom of the index.
  • In the Index, Manipur secured the lead in the Northeast and Hill States category, while Chandigarh was the top performer in the Union Territories and City States category.

 

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Parliament – Sessions, Procedures, Motions, Committees etc

How is the Vice-President of India elected?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Vice President of India

Mains level : Not Much

A major political party has declared that West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar would be the candidate for the post of Vice-President.

About Vice President of India

  • The VP is the deputy to the head of state of the Republic of India, the President of India.
  • His/her office is the second-highest constitutional office after the president and ranks second in the order of precedence and first in the line of succession to the presidency.
  • The vice president is also a member of the Parliament as the ex officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

Qualifications

  • As in the case of the president, to be qualified to be elected as vice president, a person must:
  1. Be a citizen of India
  2. Be at least 35 years of age
  3. Not hold any office of profit
  • Unlike in the case of the president, where a person must be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha, the vice president must be qualified for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
  • This difference is because the vice president is to act as the ex officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

Roles and responsibilities

  • When a bill is introduced in the Rajya Sabha, the vice president decides whether it is a money bill or not.
  • If he is of the opinion that a bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha is a money bill, he shall refer it to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
  • The vice president also acts as the chancellor of the central universities of India.

Election procedure

  • Article 66 of the Constitution of India states the manner of election of the vice president.
  • The vice president is elected indirectly by members of an electoral college consisting of the members of both Houses of Parliament and NOT the members of state legislative assembly.
  • The election is held as per the system of proportional representation using single transferable votes.
  • The voting is conducted by Election Commission of India via secret ballot.
  • The Electoral College for the poll will comprise 233 Rajya Sabha members, 12 nominated Rajya Sabha members and 543 Lok Sabha members.
  • The Lok Sabha Secretary-General would be appointed the Returning Officer.
  • Political parties CANNOT issue any whip to their MPs in the matter of voting in the Vice-Presidential election.

Removal

  • The Constitution states that the vice president can be removed by a resolution of the Rajya Sabha passed by an Effective majority (majority of all the then members) and agreed by the Lok Sabha with a simple majority( Article 67(b)).
  • But no such resolution may be moved unless at least 14 days’ notice in advance has been given.
  • Notably, the Constitution does not list grounds for removal.
  • No Vice President has ever faced removal or the deputy chairman in the Rajya Sabha cannot be challenged in any court of law per Article 122.

 

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Mother and Child Health – Immunization Program, BPBB, PMJSY, PMMSY, etc.

Rise in Unvaccinated Children in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mission Indradhanush

Mains level : Read the attached story

The number of children in India who were unvaccinated or missed their first dose of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) combined vaccine doubled due to the pandemic, rising from 1.4 million in 2019 to 2.7 million in 2021, according to official data published by the WHO and UNICEF.

Why in news?

  • This data signifies that the world recorded the largest sustained decline in childhood vaccinations in approximately 30 years.
  • There was an increase in zero dose.
  • This is the first time ever there has been a decline in evaluated coverage in immunisation for India as a whole.

Vaccination measures in India

  • Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 4.0: India started IMI 4.0 from February 2022, which is expected to further reduce the number of unvaccinated children.
  • India’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP): It provide free vaccines to all children across the country to protect them against Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis B, Pneumonia and Meningitis due to Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib), Measles, Rubella, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Rotavirus diarrhoea. (Rubella, JE and Rotavirus vaccine in select states and districts).

About Intensified Mission Indhradhanush (IMI) 4.0

  • IMI 4.0 aims to fill gaps in the routine immunisation coverage of infants and pregnant women hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and also aims to make lasting gains towards Universal Immunization.
  • It will have three rounds and will be conducted in 416 districts across 33 states.
  • Unlike the past, each round under IMI 4.0 will be conducted for seven days, including Routine Immunization (RI) days, Sundays, and public holidays.

Mission Indradhanush (MI)

  • Mission Indradhanush (MI) was launched in 2014 with the goal to ensure full immunization with all available vaccines under Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) for children up to two years of age and pregnant women.
  • It targets achieving 90% full immunization coverage in all districts.
  • Under MI, all vaccines under the Universal Immunization Program (UIP) are provided as per National Immunization Schedule.
  • UIP provides free vaccines against 12 life-threatening diseases, mentioned above.

Back2Basics: Universal Immunisation Programme

  • The Expanded Programme on Immunization was launched in 1978.
  • It was renamed as UIP in 1985 when its reach was expanded beyond urban areas.
  • UIP is one of the largest public health programmes targeting close to 2.67 crore newborns and 2.9 crore pregnant women annually.
  • Under UIP, Immunization is provided free of cost against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • The two major milestones of UIP have been the elimination of polio in 2014 and maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination in 2015.
  • To speed up the coverage, Mission Indradhanush was planned and implemented to rapidly increase the full coverage to 90%.

 

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Food Procurement and Distribution – PDS & NFSA, Shanta Kumar Committee, FCI restructuring, Buffer stock, etc.

Odisha tops first-ever NFSA State Ranking Index

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NFSA

Mains level : Food and nutrition security of India

Odisha has topped the list of 34 states and Union territories (UTs) in the first-ever NFSA State Ranking Index. Ladakh was ranked last on the index.

NFSA State Ranking Index

  • The GoI has come up with a first-ever state ranking index to capture the implementation of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
  • The states and UTs were ranked for 2022 on the basis of three parameters:
  1. NFSA coverage, rightful targeting and implementation of all provisions under the Act
  2. The delivery platform while considering the allocation of food grains, their movement and last-mile delivery to fair price shops
  3. Nutrition initiatives of the department

Why need such index?

  • NFSA is a crucial policy instrument to ensure food security. It covers nearly 800 million people.
  • However, NFSA’s implementation through TPDS has not been uniform in the country.
  • While some states and Union territories lead, others are yet to pick up in terms of coverage, beneficiary satisfaction, digitisation and overall system efficiency.
  • The index has been developed to create an environment of competition, cooperation and learning among states while addressing matters of food security and hunger.

Back2Basics: National Food Security (NFS) Act

  • The NFS Act, 2013 aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two-thirds of India’s 1.2 billion people.
  • It converts into legal entitlements for existing food security programs of the GoI.
  • It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme and the Public Distribution System (PDS).
  • Further, the NFSA 2013 recognizes maternity entitlements.
  • The Midday Meal Scheme and the ICDS are universal in nature whereas the PDS will reach about two-thirds of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas).
  • Pregnant women, lactating mothers, and certain categories of children are eligible for daily free cereals.

Key provisions of NFSA

  • The NFSA provides a legal right to persons belonging to “eligible households” to receive foodgrains at a subsidised price.
  • It includes rice at Rs 3/kg, wheat at Rs 2/kg and coarse grain at Rs 1/kg — under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). These are called central issue prices (CIPs).

 

 

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https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/governance/odisha-tops-first-ever-nfsa-state-ranking-index-83549

 

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Govt. hikes GST for household items

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : New GST slabs

Mains level : Rationalization of GST

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has decided to hike and lower GST on certain commodities.

What is the news?

  • From July 18, tax hikes will kick in for over two dozen goods and services, ranging from unbranded food items, curd and buttermilk to low-cost hotels, cheques and maps.
  • Tax rates will be lowered for about half-a-dozen goods and services, including ropeways and truck rentals where fuel costs are included.
  • It scrapped GST for items imported by private vendors for use by defence forces.

What is GST?

  • GST launched in India on 1 July 2017 is a comprehensive indirect tax for the entire country.
  • It is charged at the time of supply and depends on the destination of consumption.
  • For instance, if a good is manufactured in state A but consumed in state B, then the revenue generated through GST collection is credited to the state of consumption (state B) and not to the state of production (state A).
  • GST, being a consumption-based tax, resulted in loss of revenue for manufacturing-heavy states.

What are GST Slabs?

  • In India, almost 500+ services and over 1300 products fall under the 4 major GST slabs.
  • There are five broad tax rates of zero, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%, plus a cess levied over and above the 28% on some ‘sin’ goods.
  • The GST Council periodically revises the items under each slab rate to adjust them according to industry demands and market trends.
  • The updated structure ensures that the essential items fall under lower tax brackets, while luxury products and services entail higher GST rates.
  • The 28% rate is levied on demerit goods such as tobacco products, automobiles, and aerated drinks, along with an additional GST compensation cess.

Why rationalize GST slabs?

  • From businesses’ viewpoint, there are just too many tax rate slabs, compounded by aberrations in the duty structure through their supply chains with some inputs are taxed more than the final product.
  • These are far too many rates and do not necessarily constitute a Good and Simple Tax.
  • Multiple rate changes since the introduction of the GST regime in July 2017 have brought the effective GST rate to 11.6% from the original revenue-neutral rate of 15.5%.
  • Merging the 12% and 18% GST rates into any tax rate lower than 18% may result in revenue loss.

Haven’t GST revenues been hitting new records?

  • Yes, they have – GST revenues have scaled fresh highs in three of the first four months of 2022, going past ₹1.67 lakh crore in April.
  • But there is another key factor — the runaway pace of inflation.
  • Wholesale price inflation, which captures producers’ costs, has been over 10% for over a year and peaked at 15.1% in April.
  • Inflation faced by consumers on the ground has spiked to a near-eight year high of 7.8% in April.
  • The rise in prices was the single most important factor for higher tax inflows along with higher imports.

 

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Primary and Secondary Education – RTE, Education Policy, SEQI, RMSA, Committee Reports, etc.

Performance Grading Index for Districts (PGI-D)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PGI-D

Mains level : Not Much

The Ministry of Education has released the Performance Grading Index for Districts (PGI-D) for 2019 which studied 83 indicators grouped in six categories.

What is PGI-D?

  • The 83-indicator-based PGI for District (PGI-D) has been designed to grade the performance of all districts in school education.
  • The data is filled by districts through an online portal.
  • The indicator-wise PGI score shows the areas where a district needs to improve.
  • The PGI-D structure comprises a total weightage of 600 points across 83 indicators.
  • They are grouped under 6 categories, viz., Outcomes, Effective Classroom Transaction, Infrastructure Facilities & Students’ Entitlements, School Safety & Child Protection, Digital Learning, and Governance Process.
  • These categories are outcomes, effective classroom transaction, infrastructure facilities and student’s entitlements, school safety and child protection, digital learning and governance process.

How does the grading scale works?

  • The PGI-D grades the districts into 10 grades with the highest achievable grade being ‘Daksh’, which is for districts scoring more than 90% of the total points in that category or overall.
  • ‘Utkarsh’ category is for districts with score between 81-90%, followed by ‘Ati-Uttam’ (71-80%), ‘Uttam’ (61-70%), ‘Prachesta-I’ (51-60%), ‘Prachesta-II’ (41-50%) and ‘Pracheshta III’ (31-40%).
  • The lowest grade in PGI-D is called ‘Akanshi-3’ which is for scores up to 10% of the total points.

Performance of the states

  • Rajasthan’s Sikar is the top performer, followed by Jhunjhunu and Jaipur.
  • The other States whose districts have performed best are Punjab with 14 districts in ‘Ati-uttam’ grade (scoring 71-80% on a scale of 100).
  • It followed by Gujarat and Kerala with each having 13 districts in this category.
  • However, there are 12 States and UTs which do not have even a single district in the ‘Ati-uttam’ and ‘Uttam’ categories and these include seven of the eight States from the North East region.

Significance

  • The PGI-D will reflect the relative performance of all the districts on a uniform scale which encourages them to perform better.
  • It is expected to help the state education departments to identify gaps at the district level and improve their performance in a decentralized manner.

 

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Food Safety Standards – FSSAI, food fortification, etc.

Tamil Nadu tops State Food Safety Index (SFSI)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : State Food Safety Index (SFSI)

Mains level : Food safety

Tamil Nadu topped the State Food Safety Index (SFSI) this year.

Food safety has been in news this year quite frequent. Do make a note of following – Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), Red Octagon, Eat Right Movement, Food Safety Mitra etc.

State Food Safety Index (SFSI)

  • FSSAI has developed State Food Safety Index to measure the performance of states on various parameters of Food Safety.
  • This index is based on the performance of State/ UT on five significant parameters set by the Health Ministry, namely
  1. Human Resources and Institutional Data
  2. Compliance
  3. Food Testing – Infrastructure and Surveillance
  4. Training & Capacity Building and
  5. Consumer Empowerment
  • The Index is a dynamic quantitative and qualitative benchmarking model that provides an objective framework for evaluating food safety across all States/UTs.

Highlights of the 2022 Report

  • Tamil Nadu is followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra. Among the smaller States, Goa stood first, followed by Manipur and Sikkim.
  • Among the Union Territories, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh secured the first, second and third ranks.

Back2Basics: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

  • The FSSAI is an autonomous body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
  • It has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which is a consolidating statute related to food safety and regulation in India.
  • It is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety.
  • It is headed by a non-executive Chairperson, appointed by the Central Government, either holding or has held the position of not below the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.

 

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Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Highlights of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 5 Part: II

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NFHS and other survey mentioned

Mains level : Read the attached story

The Total Fertility Rate (TFR), the average number of children per woman, has further declined from 2.2 to 2.0 at the national level between National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 4 and 5.

What is NFHS?

  • The NFHS is a large-scale, multi-round survey conducted in a representative sample of households throughout India.
  • The IIPS is the nodal agency, responsible for providing coordination and technical guidance for the NFHS.
  • NFHS was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with supplementary support from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
  • The First National Family Health Survey (NFHS-1) was conducted in 1992-93.

Objectives of the NFHS

The survey provides state and national information for India on:

  • Fertility
  • Infant and child mortality
  • The practice of family planning
  • Maternal and child health
  • Reproductive health
  • Nutrition
  • Anaemia
  • Utilization and quality of health and family planning services

Modifications in NFHS 5

NFHS-5 includes new focal areas that will give requisite input for strengthening existing programmes and evolving new strategies for policy intervention. The areas are:

  • Expanded domains of child immunization
  • Components of micro-nutrients to children
  • Menstrual hygiene
  • Frequency of alcohol and tobacco use
  • Additional components of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
  • Expanded age ranges for measuring hypertension and diabetes among all aged 15 years and above.

Highlights of the NFHS 5 Part-II

(a) Fertility Rate

  • There are only five States — Bihar (2.98), Meghalaya (2.91), Uttar Pradesh (2.35), Jharkhand (2.26) Manipur (2.17) —which are above replacement level of fertility of 2.1.

(b) Institutional Births

  • The institutional births increased from 79% to 89% across India and in rural areas around 87% births being delivered in institutions and the same is 94% in urban areas.
  • As per results of the NFHS-5, more than three-fourths (77%) children aged between 12 and 23 months were fully immunised, compared with 62% in NFHS-4.
  • The level of stunting among children under five years has marginally declined from 38% to 36% in the country since the last four years.
  • Stunting is higher among children in rural areas (37%) than urban areas (30%) in 2019-21.

(c) Decision making

  • The extent to which married women usually participate in three household decisions (about health care for herself; making major household purchases; visit to her family or relatives) indicates that their participation in decision-making is high, ranging from 80% in Ladakh to 99% in Nagaland and Mizoram.
  • Rural (77%) and urban (81%) differences are found to be marginal.
  • The prevalence of women having a bank or savings account has increased from 53% to 79% in the last four years.

(d) Rise in obesity

  • Compared with NFHS-4, the prevalence of overweight or obesity has increased in most States/UTs in NFHS-5.
  • At the national level, it increased from 21% to 24% among women and 19% to 23% among men.
  • More than a third of women in Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, AP, Goa, Sikkim, Manipur, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Punjab, Chandigarh and Lakshadweep (34-46 %) are overweight or obese.

 

Also read

National Family Health Survey- 5 Part: I

 

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Monetary Policy Committee Notifications

RBI surprises with 40 bps rate increase in Repo Rate

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Repo Rate

Mains level : Inflation targetting by MPC

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in a sudden move, raised the repo rate by 40 basis points (bps) to 4.4% citing inflation that was globally rising alarmingly and spreading fast.

Why in news?

  • The repo rate increase was the first since August 2018.
  • The MPC retained its ‘accommodative’ policy stance even as it focuses on withdrawal of accommodation to keep inflation within the target range while supporting growth.
  • Due to Ukraine War, persistent and spreading inflationary pressures are becoming more acute with every passing day.

Hues over the REPO spike

  • The move — to have such a meeting and to raise the interest rates — is, at two different levels, both surprising and obvious.
  • It is surprising because the RBI’s MPC meets once every two months — and the meeting this week was not scheduled.

What is Repo Rate?

  • Repo rate is the rate at which the central bank of a country (Reserve Bank of India in case of India) lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds.
  • It is used by monetary authorities to control inflation.
  • In the event of inflation, central banks increase repo rate as this acts as a disincentive for banks to borrow from the central bank.
  • This ultimately reduces the money supply in the economy and thus helps in arresting inflation.

How does the repo dynamics work?

  • When there is a shortage of funds, commercial banks borrow money from the central bank which is repaid according to the repo rate applicable.
  • The central bank provides these short terms loans against securities such as treasury bills or government bonds.
  • This monetary policy is used by the central bank to control inflation or increase the liquidity of banks.
  • The government increases the repo rate when they need to control prices and restrict borrowings.
  • An increase in repo rate means commercial banks have to pay more interest for the money lent to them and therefore, a change in repo rate eventually affects public borrowings such as home loan, EMIs, etc.
  • From interest charged by commercial banks on loans to the returns from deposits, various financial and investment instruments are indirectly dependent on the repo rate.

What is accommodative stance of policy?

  • Accommodative monetary policy is when central banks expand the money supply to boost the economy. Monetary policies that are considered accommodative include lowering the Federal funds rate.
  • These measures are meant to make money less expensive to borrow and encourage more spending.

What triggered the RBI to take sudden decision?

  • Inflation has been rising for over two years: By law, the RBI is supposed to target retail inflation at 4%. Inflation constantly above 4% since last year.
  • Inflation has not been “transitory”: The reasons for high inflation have tended to change over the months due to wide range of reasons like war, crude oil prices rise, taxes on fuels etc.
  • Spike in crude oil prices is not new: The RBI has pointed to high crude oil prices in the wake of the Ukraine war, as one of the key reasons for high inflation in India.
  • High core inflation: The core inflation which is essentially the inflation rate stripped of the effect of fuel and food prices has been rising up. This is more worrisome for RBI since it cannot be altered overnight.
  • Monetary policy has lags. RBI waited too long: If the RBI wanted to contain inflation in May, it should have acted in February or at least in April. Raising rates right now may not bring down the inflation rate immediately.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2020:

Q.If the RBI decides to adopt an expansionist monetary policy, which of the following it would NOT do?

  1. Cut and optimize the statutory liquidity ratio
  2. Increase the Marginal Standing Facility Rate
  3. Cut the Bank Rate and Repo Rate

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Post your answers here:

 


 

Back2Basics: Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)

  • The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is a committee of the RBI, which is entrusted with the task of fixing the benchmark policy interest rate (repo rate) to contain inflation within the specified target level.
  • The RBI Act, 1934 was amended by Finance Act (India), 2016 to constitute MPC to bring more transparency and accountability in fixing India’s Monetary Policy.
  • The policy is published after every meeting with each member explaining his opinions.
  • The committee is answerable to the Government of India if the inflation exceeds the range prescribed for three consecutive months.
  • Suggestions for setting up a MPC is not new and goes back to 2002 when YV Reddy committee proposed to establish an MPC, then Tarapore committee in 2006, Percy Mistry committee in 2007, Raghuram Rajan committee in 2009 and then Urjit Patel Committee in 2013.

Composition and Working

  • The committee comprises six members – three officials of the RBI and three external members nominated by the Government of India.
  • The meetings of the Monetary Policy Committee are held at least 4 times a year and it publishes its decisions after each such meeting.
  • The Governor of RBI is the chairperson ex officio of the committee.
  • Decisions are taken by a majority with the Governor having the casting vote in case of a tie.
  • They need to observe a “silent period” seven days before and after the rate decision for “utmost confidentiality”.

 

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Coronavirus – Health and Governance Issues

Civil Registration System Report, 2020

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Civil Registration System (CRS)

Mains level : Total covid related fatality in India

The Civil Registration System (CRS) report 2020 was released at least a month before its schedule.

What is Civil Registration System (CRS)?

  • The CRS collates data on all births and deaths registered with local authorities across India.
  • The CRS report is released by the Registrar-General of India.
  • It releases its report around 18 months after a year ends.

Significance of the 2020 Report

  • The 2020 report was released at least a month before schedule.
  • Such data can be of significance during a pandemic as possible covid-19 deaths may not have been categorized as such in official records.
  • The CRS can help us reach an estimate by using the “excess deaths” approach.
  • It is the difference between the total number of deaths registered in a pandemic year and the number of deaths that normally take place in a year.

Why was the data released ahead of schedule?

  • India and the WHO are locked in a tussle over the latter’s excess death estimates that would give a sense of pandemic-linked fatalities globally in 2020-21.
  • India has reportedly stalled WHO’s efforts to release the data, claiming flawed methodology.
  • WHO is set to release its estimates today, a possible reason that India released CRS data early.

Why is India contesting the WHO approach?

  • One key objection by India is that WHO has classified it as a Tier 2 country and hence used a different modelling process to estimate excess deaths from that used for Tier 1 countries.
  • WHO says all countries that made available their full all-cause mortality data for the pandemic period were classified as Tier 1.
  • India is in Tier 2 because it didn’t share official data with WHO.
  • Hence, alternative data and modelling methods had to be adopted, adjusting for factors such as income levels, covid-19 reporting rates, and test positivity rates.

What does the 2020 data show?

(a) Covid deaths

  • The CRS report for 2020 has recorded deaths of 8.12 million Indians, 6.2% more than 2019.
  • Normally, an unusual increase in deaths would be linked to the pandemic. However, in India, not all deaths are registered.
  • Thus, a rise could simply be because of more families getting deaths registered.
  • The CRS for 2021, which saw more Covid deaths, may not be out until next year.

(b) Improvements in sex ratio

  • Highest Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) based on registered events has been reported by Ladakh (1,104) followed by Arunachal Pradesh (1,011), A&N Islands (984), Tripura (974), and Kerala (969).
  • The lowest sex ratio was reported by Manipur (880), followed by Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (898), Gujarat (909), Haryana (916) and Madhya Pradesh (921).

 

 

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Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

State of (un)employment in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Labour force participation rate (LFPR)

Mains level : Unemployment in India

Data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) shows that India’s labour force participation rate (LFPR) has fallen to just 40% from an already low 47% in 2016.

What is LFPR?

  • Before understanding LFPR, we need to define the labour force itself.
  • According to the CMIE, the labour force consists of persons who are of age 15 years or older, and belong to either of the following two categories:
  1. are employed
  2. are unemployed and are willing to work and are actively looking for a job
  • There is a crucial commonality between the two categories — they both have people “demanding” jobs.
  • This demand is what LFPR refers to. While those in category 1 succeed in getting a job, those in category 2 fail to do so.
  • Thus, the LFPR essentially is the percentage of the working-age (15 years or older) population that is asking for a job; it represents the “demand” for jobs in an economy.
  • It includes those who are employed and those who are unemployed.
  • The Unemployment Rate (UER), which is routinely quoted in the news, is nothing but the number of unemployed (category 2) as a proportion of the labour force.

What is the significance of LFPR in India?

  • Typically, it is expected that the LFPR will remain largely stable.
  • As such, any analysis of unemployment in an economy can be done just by looking at the UER.
  • But, in India, the LFPR is not only lower than in the rest of the world but also falling. This, in turn, affects the UER because LFPR is the base (the denominator) on which UER is calculated.
  • The world over, LFPR is around 60%. In India, it has been sliding over the last 10 years and has shrunk from 47% in 2016 to just 40% as of December 2021.
  • This shrinkage implies that merely looking at UER will under-report the stress of unemployment in India.
  • Recent trend suggests that not only that more than half of India’s population in the working-age group is deciding to sit out of the job market, but also that this proportion of people is increasing.

How is it under-reported?

  • Imagine that there are just 100 people in the working-age group but only 60 ask for jobs — that is, the LFPR is 60% — and of these 60 people, 6 did not get a job. This would imply a UER of 10%.
  • Now imagine a scenario when the LFPR has fallen to 40% and, as such, only 40 people are demanding work. And of these 40, only 2 people fail to get a job.
  • The UER would have fallen to 5% and it might appear that the economy is doing better on the jobs front but the truth is starkly different.
  • The truth is that beyond the 2 who are unemployed, a total of 20 people have stopped demanding work.
  • Typically, this happens when people in the working-age get disheartened from not finding work.

So, what is the correct way to assess India’s unemployment stress?

  • When LFPR is falling as steadily and as sharply as it has done in India’s case, it is better to track another variable: the Employment Rate (ER).
  • The ER refers to the total number of employed people as a percentage of the working-age population.
  • By using the working-age population as the base and looking at the number of people with jobs, the ER captures the fall in LFPR to better represent the stress in the labour market.

ER trends in India

  • If one looks at the ER data (Chart 1), it becomes clear that while India’s working-age population has been increasing each year, the percentage of people with jobs has been coming down sharply.
  • Looking at the absolute numbers makes the stress even more clear.
  • In December 2021, India had 107.9 crore people in the working age group and of these, only 40.4 crore had a job (an ER of 37.4%).
  • Compare this with December 2016 when India had 95.9 crore in the working-age group and 41.2 crore with jobs (ER 43%).
  • In five years, while the total working-age population has gone up by 12 crore, the number of people with jobs has gone down by 80 lakh.

Why is India’s LFPR so low?

  • The main reason for India’s LFPR being low is the abysmally low level of female LFPR.
  • According to CMIE data, as of December 2021, while the male LFPR was 67.4%, the female LFPR was as low as 9.4%.
  • In other words, less than one in 10 working-age women in India are even demanding work.
  • Even if one sources data from the World Bank, India’s female labour force participation rate is around 25% when the global average is 47%.

Why do so few women demand work?

  • One reason is essentially about the working conditions — such as law and order, efficient public transportation, violence against women, societal norms etc — being far from conducive for women to seek work.
  • The other has to do with correctly measuring women’s contribution to the economy.
  • There are methodological issues in formally capturing women’s contribution to the economy since a lot of women in India are exclusively involved within their own homes.
  • Lastly, it is also a question of adequate job opportunities for women.

How do people who leave the labour force survive?

  • Households with more than one working member often witness this phenomenon.
  • The fall in the LFPR since 2016 has been accompanied by a fall in the proportion of households where more than one person is employed.
  • The fall in LFPR has largely been the result of the additional person employed in a typical household losing a job.

 

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Economic Indicators and Various Reports On It- GDP, FD, EODB, WIR etc

All-India Household Consumer Expenditure Survey

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES)

Mains level : Need for CES for GDP estimation

The All-India Household Consumer Expenditure Survey, usually conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) every five years, is set to resume this year after a prolonged break.

What is the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES)?

  • The CES is traditionally a quinquennial (recurring every five years) survey conducted by the government’s National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).
  • It is designed to collect information on the consumer spending patterns of households across the country, both urban and rural.
  • Typically, the Survey is conducted between July and June and this year’s exercise is expected to be completed by June 2023.

Utility of the survey

  • The data gathered in this exercise reveals the average expenditure on goods (food and non-food) and services.
  • It helps generate estimates of household Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure (MPCE) as well as the distribution of households and persons over the MPCE classes.
  • It is used to arrive at estimates of poverty levels in different parts of the country and to review economic indicators such as the GDP, since 2011-12.

Why need this survey?

  • India has not had any official estimates on per capita household spending.
  • It provides separate data sets for rural and urban parts, and also splice spending patterns for each State and Union Territory, as well as different socio-economic groups.

What about the previous survey?

  • The survey was last held in 2017-2018.
  • The government announced that it had data quality issues.
  • Hence the results were not released.

 

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Languages and Eighth Schedule

Need for one common language

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Scheduled languages

Mains level : Hindi imposition row

Last week, Home Minister Amit Shah suggested that states should communicate with each other in Hindi rather than English, while stressing that Hindi should not be an alternative to local languages.

This again sparked the debate of “Hindi imposition”.

How widely is Hindi spoken in India?

  • The 2011 linguistic census accounts for 121 mother tongues, including 22 languages listed in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.
  • Hindi is the most widely spoken, with 52.8 crore individuals, or 43.6% of the population, declaring it as their mother tongue.
  • The next highest is Bengali, mother tongue for 97 lakh (8%) — less than one-fifth of Hindi’s count (Chart 2).
  • In terms of the number of people who know Hindi, the count crosses more than half the country.
  • Nearly 13.9 crore (over 11%) reported Hindi as their second language, which makes it either the mother tongue or second language for nearly 55% of the population.

Has it always been this widespread?

  • Hindi has been India’s predominant mother tongue over the decades, its share in the population rising in every succeeding census.
  • In 1971, 37% Indians had reported Hindi as their mother tongue, a share that has grown over the next four censuses to 38.7%, 39.2%, 41% and 43.6% at last count (Chart 1).
  • This begs the question as to which mother tongues have declined as Hindi’s share has risen.
  • A number of mother tongues other than Hindi have faced a decline in terms of share, although the dip has been marginal in many cases.
  • For example, Bengali’s share in the population declined by just 0.14 percentage points from 1971 (8.17%) to 2011 (8.03%).
  • In comparison, Malayalam (1.12 percentage points) and Urdu (1.03 points) had higher declines among the mother tongues with at least 1 crore speakers in 2011.
  • Punjabi’s share, on the other hand, rose from 2.57% to 2.74%.
  • At the other end of the scale (among the 22 languages listed in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution) were Malayalam, whose numbers rose by under 59% in four decades, and Assamese, rising just over 71% (Chart 3).

What explains Hindi’s high numbers?

  • One obvious explanation is that Hindi is the predominant language in some of India’s most populous states, including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
  • Another reason is that a number of languages are bracketed under Hindi by census enumerators.
  • In 2011, there were 1,383 mother tongues reported by people, and hundreds were knocked out.
  • These mother tongues were then grouped into languages.
  • You will find that under Hindi, they have listed nearly 65 mother tongues.
  • Among them is Bhojpuri, and 5 crore people have reported Bhojpuri as their mother tongue, but the census has decided that Bhojpuri is Hindi.
  • If one were to knock out the other languages merged with Hindi, the total figure goes down to 38 crore.

And how widely is English spoken?

  • Although English, alongside Hindi, is one of the two official languages of the central government, it is not among the 22 languages in the 8th Schedule; it is one of the 99 non-scheduled languages.
  • In terms of mother tongue, India had just 2.6 lakh English speakers in 2011 — a tiny fraction of the 121 crore people counted in that census.
  • That does not reflect the extent to which English is spoken.
  • It was the second language of 8.3 crore respondents in 2011, second only to Hindi’s 13.9 crore.
  • If third language is added, then English was spoken — as mother tongue, second language or third language — by over 10% of the population in 2011, behind only Hindi’s 57%.
  • It is still not a scheduled language in India, when it should be.

Where is English most prevalent?

  • As mother tongue, Maharashtra accounted for over 1 lakh of the 2.6 lakh English speakers.
  • As second language, English is preferred over Hindi in parts of the Northeast.
  • Among the 17.6 lakh with Manipuri (an 8th Schedule language) as their mother tongue in 2011, 4.8 lakh declared their second language as English, compared to 1.8 lakh for Hindi.
  • Among the non-scheduled languages spoken in the Northeast, Khasi, predominant in Meghalaya, was the mother tongue of 14.3 lakh, of whom 2.4 lakh declared their second language as English, and 54,000 as Hindi.
  • The trends were similar for Mizo, and for various languages spoken in Nagaland, including Ao, Angami and Rengma.
  • Beyond the Northeastern languages, among 68 lakh with Kashmiri as their mother tongue, 2.8 lakh declared their second language as English, compared to 2.2 lakh who declared Hindi.

Back2Basics: Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution

  • The Eighth Schedule lists the official languages of the Republic of India.
  • At the time when the Constitution was enacted, inclusion in this list meant that the language was entitled to representation on the Official Languages Commission.
  • This language would be one of the bases that would be drawn upon to enrich Hindi and English, the official languages of the Union.
  • The list has since, however, acquired further significance.
  • In addition, a candidate appearing in an examination conducted for public service is entitled to use any of these languages as the medium in which he or she answers the paper.
  • As per Articles 344(1) and 351 of the Indian Constitution, the eighth schedule includes the recognition of the 22 languages.

‘Classical’ languages in India

Currently, six languages enjoy the ‘Classical’ status: Tamil (declared in 2004), Sanskrit (2005), Kannada (2008), Telugu (2008), Malayalam (2013), and Odia (2014).

How are they classified?

According to information provided by the Ministry of Culture in the Rajya Sabha in February 2014, the guidelines for declaring a language as ‘Classical’ are:

  • High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years;
  • A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers;
  • The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community;
  • The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms o

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NITI Aayog’s Assessment

NITI Aayog publishes Energy and Climate Index List

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : State Energy and Climate Index

Mains level : Costs of cleaner energy alternatives

Gujarat has topped the list for larger States in the NITI Aayog’s State Energy and Climate Index–Round 1 that has ranked States and Union Territories (UTs) on certain parameters.

State Energy and Climate Index

  • The States have been categorized based on size and geographical differences as larger and smaller States and UTs.
  • The index is based on 2019-20 data.
  • It ranks the states’ performance on 6 parameters, namely
  1. DISCOM’s Performance
  2. Access, Affordability and Reliability of Energy
  3. Clean Energy Initiatives
  4. Energy Efficiency
  5. Environmental Sustainability; and
  6. New Initiatives
  • The parameters are further divided into 27 indicators. Based on the composite SECI Round I score.
  • The states and UTs are categorized into three groups: Front Runners, Achievers, and Aspirants.

Performance by the states

  • Gujarat, Kerala and Punjab have been ranked as the top three performers in the category of larger States, while Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were the bottom three States.
  • Goa emerged as the top performer in the smaller States category followed by Tripura and Manipur.
  • Among UTs, Chandigarh, Delhi and Daman & Diu/Dadra & Nagar Haveli are the top performers.
  • Punjab was the best performer in discom performance, while Kerala topped in access, affordability and reliability category.
  • Haryana was the best performer in clean energy initiative among larger States and Tamil Nadu in the energy efficiency category.

 

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Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

What is Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CVI

Mains level : Climate vulnerability of coastlines

Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has carried out coastal vulnerability assessment for entire Indian coast at states level.

Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI)

  • Under the CVI, INCOIS has brought out an Atlas comprising 156 maps on 1:1,00,000 scales to prepare a CVI.
  • These maps determine the coastal risks due to future sea-level rise based on the physical and geological parameters for the Indian coast.
  • The CVI uses the relative risk that physical changes will occur as sea-level rises are quantified based on parameters like:
  1. Tidal range
  2. Wave height
  3. Coastal slope
  4. Coastal elevation
  5. Shoreline change rate
  6. Geomorphology
  7. Historical rate of relative sea-level change

Other components: MHVM

  • A coastal Multi-Hazard Vulnerability Mapping (MHVM) was also carried out using above mentioned parameters.
  • These parameters were synthesized to derive the composite hazard zones that can be inundated along the coastal low-lying areas due to extreme flooding events.
  • This MHVM mapping was carried for the entire mainland of India on a 1:25000 scale.
  • These maps depict the coastal low-lying areas exposed to the coastal inundation.

Significance of CVI

  • India has a coastline of 7516.6 Km i.e. 6100 km of mainland coastline plus coastline of 1197 Indian islands touching 13 States and Union Territories (UTs).
  • Coastal vulnerability assessments can be useful information for coastal disaster management and building resilient coastal communities.

What is Coastal Security?

  • Coastal Security is understood as a subset of maritime security. It
    involves the security of the coastal water zone against any threat or challenge that originates from the sea. Coastal water zone refers to the water area seawards of the Indian coast up to the limit of India’s contiguous zone, or the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) whichever is less.
  • Coastal security has a wide connotation encompassing maritime border management, island security, maintenance of peace, stability and good order in coastal areas and enforcement of laws therein, security of ports, coastal installations, and other structures
    including Vital Areas and Vital Points (VAs/VPs) and vessels and personnel operating in coastal areas. An effective
    organization for coastal security also facilitates coastal defense.

Why is coastal security considered indispensable for India?

  • National Security: The elaborate security arrangements on land forced the terrorists and illegal migrants to look towards the sea where security measures are comparatively lax, enabling them to ‘move, hide and strike’ with relative ease. Plugging this loophole is imperative to enable a holistic national security architecture.
  • Economic development: Coastal region plays an important part in India’s economic development. Security of the region will have a direct bearing on the following areas:
    a) Trade: India’s sea dependence on oil is about 93% which includes India’s offshore oil production and petroleum exports. Further, 95% of India’s trade by volume and 68% of trade by value comes via the Indian Ocean.
    b) Fish production: India is the second-largest fish producer in the world with a total production of 13.7 million metric tonnes in 2018-19 of which 35% was from the maritime sector. In the same period, India had exported Rs 46,589.37 crore worth of marine products.
    c) Strategic minerals: India hosts some of the largest and richest shoreline placers. The beach and dune sands in India contain heavy minerals (HMs) like ilmenite, rutile, garnet, zircon, monazite and sillimanite.
    d) Geostrategic interests: The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has become a pivotal zone of global strategic competition.
    e) Dealing with climate-induced crises: Coastal zones are already under threat from environmental degradation. At the same time, the sinking of islands due to the rising sea levels in the Indian Ocean may result in the rise of climate refugees.

How India’s Coastal Security Architecture has evolved over the years?

  • Customs Marine Organisation (CMO), 1974: Created on the recommendation of Nag Chaudhari Committee, it was mandated to conduct anti-smuggling operations. However, since the CMO was temporary in nature, not much attention was paid to strengthening this organisation. In 1982, it was merged with the ICG to avoid the duplication of efforts.
  • Indian Coast Guard (ICG), 1977: With the enactment of the Indian Coast Guard Act, 1978, the organization formally
    came into being as the fourth armed force of India. Its mandates include thwarting smuggling activities, safeguarding and protecting artificial islands, offshore terminals, installations, and other devices in the maritime zone, protecting and assisting fishermen in distress and preserving and protecting the marine environment, including
    controlling marine pollution.
  • Coastal Security Scheme (CSS), 2005: Instituted originally in 2005 and implemented by the Department of Border
    Management, Ministry of Home Affairs. The aim of the CSS was to strengthen infrastructure for patrolling and the surveillance of the coastal areas, particularly the shallow areas close to the coast.
  • Coastal Security Architecture Post ‘26/11’: Since then, the physical assets were built up and human resource capability was
    also enhanced to strengthen the coastal security. These
    efforts include:
    Strengthening the Multilayered Surveillance System: Before 2008, the existing multilayered surveillance system under the CSS was functioning only along the Gujarat and Maharashtra coasts.
    Indian Navy(IN): It was designated as the authority responsible for overall maritime security which includes coastal as well as offshore security. It was also made responsible for the coastal defense of the nation assisted by the ICG, the marine police, and
    other central and state agencies.
    ICG: The Director-General Coast Guard has been designated as the Commander Coastal Command, and is responsible for the overall coordination between central and state agencies in all matters relating to coastal security.
    Border Security Force (BSF): The water wing of the BSF have been deployed along with eight floating border outposts (BOPs), for the security and surveillance of the creeks in Gujarat and the Sunderbans.
    Central Industrial Security Force (CISF): It was entrusted with the responsibility of the physical security of India’s major ports. Vessel Traffic Management Systems (VTMS) are also being installed in all the major and a few non-major ports to monitor and regulate maritime traffic as well as to detect potentially dangerous ships.
    Sagar Suraksha Dal: An informal layer of surveillance, comprising the fishermen community- created following the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts – has also been formalized and activated in all coastal states.
  • National Maritime Domain Awareness (NMDA) Project: It includes an integrated intelligence grid to detect and tackle threats emanating from the sea in real-time. Post 26/11, it has been strengthened by establishing NC3I network and IMAC that generate a common operational picture of activities at sea
    through an institutionalized mechanism.
  • Maritime Theatre Command (MTC): MTC structure is
    proposed to integrate the assets of the Indian Navy, Army, IAF
    and Coast Guard to achieve the goals detailed out in the Joint
    Forces Doctrine (JFD), 2017. It will enable the security forces
    to form a ‘Net-centric’ Warfare model so as to gain an
    an advantage over the adversary using a flexible force structure
    to match the varied geographic domains.
  • Inter-agency maritime exercises: Such exercises help
    build inter-service synergy, interoperability, and
    jointness. These include ‘Sagar Kavach’, ‘Sea Vigil’, TROPEX.
  • Increased cooperation with littoral countries: India
    interacts more actively with littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region and employs maritime security engagement as a cornerstone of her regional foreign policy initiatives.

Gaps in existing architecture

  • Lackadaisical approach of the State governments resulting in the slow pace of construction of coastal infrastructure.
  • Multiplicity of agencies results in poor coordination.
  • Disproportionate focus on terrorism results in less emphasis on non-traditional threats.
  • Lack of professionalism and capacity constraints in marine police forces.
  • Technological backwardnessPort security remains neglected in most of the minor ports.

Ways to fill gaps in the existing architecture

  • Enacting the proposed Coastal Security Bill that will facilitate the creation of NMA.
  • Strengthening the surveillance system
  • Creation of Central Marine Police Force (CMPF)
  • Promulgate the National commercial maritime security policy document for efficient, coordinated, and effective actions.
  • Effective involvement of Coastal communities such as fishermen.
  • Reinforcing Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) regulations
    Recalibrate the defense expenditure to increase capacity and resources.

 


Back2Basics: INCOIS

  • Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) is an autonomous body under Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
  • It has been issuing alerts on Potential Fishing Zone, Ocean State Forecast, Tsunami Early Warning, Storm Surge Early Warning, High Wave Alerts, etc.
  • It works through a dedicated ocean modeling, observations, computation facilities and the marine data center.

 

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Freedom of Speech – Defamation, Sedition, etc.

India Press Freedom Report, 2021

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Free speech and press

The India Press Freedom Report, 2021was recently released by the Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG).

India Press Freedom Report, 2021: Key Highlights

  • Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tripura topped the list of States and Union Territories where journalists and media houses were targeted in 2021.
  • It is followed by Delhi (8), Bihar (6), Assam (5), Haryana and Maharashtra (4 each), Goa and Manipur (3 each), Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal (2 each), and Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Kerala (1each).
  • While J&K recorded the maximum attacks by State actors, Tripura had the most cases of attacks by non-State actors, the analysis of data showed.

Significance of the report

  • The widespread attacks on the press freedom are an indicator of the continuing deterioration of civic space in the country.
  • It represents the status of free speech exercised in our country.

 

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Forest Conservation Efforts – NFP, Western Ghats, etc.

Highlights of the India State of Forest Report, 2021

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : India State of Forest Report, 2021

Mains level : Read the attached story

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has released the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021.

About India State of Forest Report

  • ISFR is an assessment of India’s forest and tree cover, published every two years by the Forest Survey of India under the MoEFCC.
  • The first survey was published in 1987, and ISFR 2021 is the 17th.
  • It compiles data computed through wall-to-wall mapping of India’s forest cover through remote sensing techniques.

Why need ISFR?

  • It is used in planning and formulation of policies in forest management as well as forestry and agroforestry sectors.

How are forests categorized?

The Forest Survey of India has listed four categories of forests. They are:

  1. Very Dense Forest (with tree canopy density of 70 per cent or above)
  2. Moderately Dense Forest (tree canopy density of 40 per cent or above but less than 70 per cent)
  3. Open Forest (tree canopy density of 10 per cent or above but less than 40 per cent)
  4. Scrub (tree canopy density less than 10 per cent)

Highlights of the ISFR, 2021

[1] Forest cover is increasing

  • ISFR 2021 has found that the forest and tree cover in the country continues to increase with an additional cover of 1,540 square kilometres over the past two years.
  • India’s forest cover is now 7,13,789 square kilometres, 21.71% of the country’s geographical area, an increase from 21.67% in 2019.
  • Tree cover has increased by 721 sq km.
  • Bamboo forests have grown from 13,882 million culms (stems) in 2019 to 53,336 million culms in 2021.

[2] State-wise gain/losses

  • The states that have shown the highest increase in forest cover are Telangana (3.07%), Andhra Pradesh (2.22%) and Odisha (1.04%).
  • The Northeast states account for 7.98% of total geographical area but 23.75% of total forest cover.
  • Five states in the Northeast – Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland have all shown loss in forest cover.
  • The report has attributed the decline in the NE states to a spate of natural calamities, particularly landslides and heavy rains, in the region as well as to anthropogenic activities.

[3] Increase in Mangrove cover

  • Mangroves have shown an increase of 17 sq km. India’s total mangrove cover is now 4,992 sq km.

[4] Increase in carbon stock

  • The total carbon stock in country’s forests is estimated at 7,204 million tonnes, an increase of 79.4 million tonnes since 2019.

[5] Big cats population

  • ISFR 2021 has some new features. It has for the first time assessed forest cover in tiger reserves, tiger corridors and the Gir forest which houses the Asiatic lion.
  • The forest cover in tiger corridors has increased by 37.15 sq km (0.32%) between 2011-2021, but decreased by 22.6 sq km (0.04%) in tiger reserves.
  • Buxa, Anamalai and Indravati reserves have shown an increase in forest cover while the highest losses have been found in Kawal, Bhadra and the Sunderbans reserves.
  • Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh has the highest forest cover, at nearly 97%.

 [6] Impact of climate change

  • The report estimates that by 2030, 45-64% of forests in India will experience the effects of climate change and rising temperatures, and forests in all states will be highly vulnerable climate hot spots.
  • Ladakh (forest cover 0.1-0.2%) is likely to be the most affected.
  • India’s forests are already showing shifting trends of vegetation types, such as Sikkim which has shown a shift in its vegetation pattern for 124 endemic species.

[7] Forest fires

  • The survey has found that 35.46 % of the forest cover is prone to forest fires.
  • Out of this, 2.81 % is extremely prone, 7.85% is very highly prone and 11.51 % is highly prone
  • The highest numbers of fires were detected in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Concerns with the declining trends

  • It is worrying that a 1,582 sq km decline was in moderately dense forests, or “natural forests”.
  • This decline shows a degradation of forests in the country, say experts, with natural forests degrading to less dense open forests.
  • Also, scrub area has increased by 5,320 sq km – indicating the complete degradation of forests in these areas.

 

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