Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Wastewater Treatment in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Important facts mentioned

Mains level : Wastewater treatment in India

Sewage treatment plants (STPs) in India are able to treat a little more than a third of the sewage generated per day, according to the latest report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

What is Wastewater?

Wastewater is used water from any combination of domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff/ stormwater, and any sewer inflow or sewer infiltration.

In everyday usage, wastewater is commonly a synonym for:

  • Sewage also called domestic wastewater or municipal wastewater which is wastewater that is produced by a community of people.
  • Industrial wastewater, water-borne waste generated from a variety of industrial processes, such as manufacturing operations, mineral extraction, power generation, or water and wastewater treatment.
  • Cooling water, released with potential thermal pollution after use to condense steam or reduce machinery temperatures by conduction or evaporation
  • Leachate, precipitation containing pollutants dissolved while percolating through ores, raw materials, products, or solid waste
  • Return flow, carrying suspended soil, pesticide residues, or dissolved minerals and nutrients from irrigated cropland
  • Surface runoff, the flow of water occurring on the ground surface when excess rainwater, stormwater, meltwater, or other sources, can no longer sufficiently rapidly infiltrate in the soil.
  • Urban runoff, including water used for outdoor cleaning activity and landscape irrigation in densely populated areas created by urbanization
  • Agricultural wastewater, generated from confined animal operations

Wastewater in India

  • India generated 72,368 MLD (million litres per day) whereas the installed capacity of STPs was 31,841 MLD (43.9 per cent), according to the report.

Treatment facilities available

  • Of this installed capacity, developed and operationalized capacity was 26,869 MLD (84 per cent).
  • Of the total operationalised capacity, 20,235 MLD (75 per cent) was the actual utilised capacity.
  • In other words, out of total 72,368 MLD sewage generated every day, only 20,235 MLD is treated.

Skewed distribution

  • Five states and Union Territories (UT) — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Karnataka — account for 60 per cent of the total installed treatment capacity of the country.
  • These, along with five other states and UTs — Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan — alone constitute 86 per cent of the total installed capacity.
  • Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland have not installed sewage treatment plants.
  • There are states like Bihar which do have a small installed capacity of STPs. But on the operational front, they score a zero.
  • Chandigarh ranks first in terms of total sewage generated to what is actually treated. It generates 188 MLD of sewage and has an operational capacity to treat 271 MLD.

Major issue: Reuse of sewage

  • The reuse of treated sewage is an issue which hasn’t assumed much importance in the policy planning of many state governments.
  • Treated sewage water can be reused for horticulture, irrigation, washing activities (road, vehicles and trains), fire-fighting, industrial cooling, toilet flushing and gardening.
  • The proportion of the reuse of treated sewage is maximum in Haryana (80 per cent) followed by Puducherry (55 per cent), Delhi (50 per cent), Chandigarh (35 per cent), Tamil Nadu (25 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (20 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (5 per cent).

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NITI Aayog’s Assessment

[pib] Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NITI Aayog

Mains level : Evolving concept of urban development

NITI Aayog has launched a report titled ‘Reforms in Urban Planning Capacity in India’ on measures to ramp up urban planning capacity in India.

Reforms in Urban Planning

  • The report has been developed by NITI Aayog, in consultation with concerned ministries and eminent experts in the domain of urban and regional planning.
  • It underscores urban challenges, including town planning and emphasizes need greater policy attention in our country.

Why such report?

  • India is home to 11% of the total global urban population.
  • By 2027, India will surpass China as the most populous country in the world.
  • Unplanned urbanization, however, exerts great strain on our cities. In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the dire need for the planning and management of our cities.
  • The existing urban planning and governance framework is complex, which often leads to ambiguity and lack of accountability.

Highlights of the report

The report makes several recommendations that can unblock bottlenecks in the value chain of urban planning capacity in India.  Some of them are:

Programmatic Intervention for Planning of Healthy Cities:

  • Every city must aspire to become a ‘Healthy City for All’ by 2030.
  • The report recommends a Central Sector Scheme ‘500 Healthy Cities Programme’, for a period of 5 years, wherein priority cities and towns would be selected jointly by the states and local bodies.

Programmatic Intervention for Optimum Utilization of Urban Land:

  • All the cities and towns under the proposed ‘Healthy Cities Programme’ should strengthen development control regulations based on scientific evidence to maximize the efficiency of urban land (or planning area).
  • The report recommends a sub-scheme ‘Preparation/Revision of Development Control Regulations’ for this purpose.

Ramping Up of Human Resources:

  • To combat the shortage of urban planners in the public sector, the report recommends that the states/UTs may need to a) expedite the filling up of vacant positions of town planners.
  • It asks to additionally sanction 8268 town planners’ posts as lateral entry positions.

Ensuring Qualified Professionals for Undertaking Urban Planning:

  • State town and country planning departments face an acute shortage of town planners.
  • This is compounded by the fact that in several states, ironically, a qualification in town planning is not even an essential criterion for such jobs.
  • States may need to undertake requisite amendments in their recruitment rules to ensure the entry of qualified candidates into town-planning positions.

Re-engineering of Urban Governance:

  • The report recommends the constitution of a high-powered committee to re-engineer the present urban-planning governance structure.
  • The key aspects that would need to be addressed in this effort are:
  1. clear division of the roles and responsibilities of various authorities, appropriate revision of rules and regulations, etc.,
  2. creation of a more dynamic organizational structure, standardisation of the job descriptions of town planners and other experts, and
  3. extensive adoption of technology for enabling public participation and inter-agency coordination.

Revision of Town and Country Planning Acts:

  • Most States have enacted the Town and Country Planning Acts, that enable them to prepare and notify master plans for implementation.
  • However, many need to be reviewed and upgraded.
  • Therefore, the formation of an apex committee at the state level is recommended to undertake a regular review of planning legislations (including town and country planning or urban and regional development acts or other relevant acts).

Demystifying Planning and Involving Citizens:

  • While it is important to maintain the master plans’ technical rigour, it is equally important to demystify them for enabling citizens’ participation at relevant stages.
  • Therefore, the committee strongly recommends a ‘Citizen Outreach Campaign’ for demystifying urban planning.

Steps for Enhancing the Role of Private Sector:

  • The report recommends that concerted measures must be taken at multiple levels to strengthen the role of the private sector to improve the overall planning capacity in the country.
  • These include the adoption of fair processes for procuring technical consultancy services, strengthening project structuring and management skills in the public sector, and empanelment of private sector consultancies.

Steps for Strengthening Urban Planning Education System:

  • The Central universities and technical institutions in all the other States/UTs are encouraged to offer PG degree programmes (MTech Planning) to cater to the requirement of planners in the country.
  • The committee also recommends that all such institutions may synergize with Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Panchayati Raj and respective state rural development departments.

Measures for Strengthening Human Resource and Match Demand–Supply:

  • The report recommends the constitution of a ‘National Council of Town and Country Planners’ as a statutory body.
  • Also, a ‘National Digital Platform of Town and Country Planners’ is suggested to be created within the National Urban Innovation Stack of MoHUA.
  • This portal will enable self-registration of all planners and evolve as a marketplace for potential employers and urban planners.

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Financial Inclusion in India and Its Challenges

RBI unveils Financial Inclusion Index

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Financial Inclusion Index

Mains level : Financial inclusion of masses

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced the formation of a composite Financial Inclusion Index (FI-Index) to capture the extent of financial inclusion across the country.

Financial Inclusion Index

  • The FI-Index will be published in July every year.
  • The index captures information on various aspects of financial inclusion in a single value ranging between 0 and 100, where 0 represents complete financial exclusion and 100 indicates full financial inclusion.
  • It has been conceptualized as a comprehensive index incorporating details of banking, investments, insurance, postal as well as the pension sector in consultation with the government and respective sectoral regulators.
  • It has been constructed without any ‘base year’ and as such it reflects cumulative efforts of all stakeholders over the years towards financial inclusion.

Parameters of the index

  • The FI-Index comprises three broad parameters viz.,
  1. Access (35%),
  2. Usage (45%), and
  3. Quality (20%)
  • These parameters are the identification of the customer, reaching the last mile, and providing relevant, affordable and safe products.
  • The index is responsive to ease of access, availability and usage of services, and quality of services for all 97 indicators.

This year’s highlight

  • The annual FI-Index for the period ended March 2021 stood at 53.9 compared with 43.4 for the period ended March 2017.

Prime Minister’s Office : Important Updates

Quality of Life for Elderly Index

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Quality of Life for Elderly Index

Mains level : Old age security

Quality of Life for Elderly Index was released by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM).

Quality of Life for Elderly Index

The Index has been created by the Institute for Competitiveness at the request of EAC-PM and it sheds light on an issue often not mentioned- problems faced by the elderly.

  • The report identifies the regional patterns of ageing across the Indian States and assesses the overall ageing situation in India.
  • The report presents a deeper insight into how well India is doing to support the well-being of its ageing population.
  • The Index framework includes four pillars:
  1. Financial Well-being
  2. Social Well-being
  3. Health System and
  4. Income Security
  • It has eight sub-pillars: Economic Empowerment, Educational Attainment & Employment, Social Status, Physical Security, Basic Health, Psychological Wellbeing, Social Security and Enabling Environment.

Features of the index

  • This index broadens the way we understand the needs and opportunities of the elderly population in India.
  • It goes far beyond the adequacy of pensions and other forms of income support, which, though critical, often narrows policy thinking and debate about the needs of this age group.
  • The index highlights that the best way to improve the lives of the current and future generations of older people is by investing in health, education and employment for young people today.

Why need such an index?

  • India is often portrayed as a young society, with a consequent demographic dividend.
  • But, as with every country that goes through a fast process of demographic transition, India also has greying cum aging problem.
  • Without a proper diagnostic tool to understand the implications of its ageing population, planning for the elderly can become a challenge for policymakers.

Key Highlights from the Report:

  • The Health System pillar observes the highest national average, 66.97 at an all-India level, followed by 62.34 in Social Well-being.
  • Financial Well-being observes a score of 44.7, which is lowered by the low performance of 21 States across the Education Attainment & Employment pillar, which showcases scope for improvement
  • States have performed particularly worse in the Income Security pillar because over half of the States have a score below the national average, i.e., 33.03 in Income Security, which is the lowest across all pillars.

Performance of the states

  • Among all the states, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh are top-scoring regions in the aged states and relatively aged states categories.
  • Rajasthan has a score of 54.61 in the aged states category while Himachal Pradesh has a score of 61.04 in relatively aged states.
  • Mizoram has a score of 59.79 among northeastern states while Chandigarh scored 63.78 among the Union Territories.
  • Jammu and Kashmir scored the lowest 46.16 among Union Territories.
  • Arunachal Pradesh, among the northeastern states, scored the lowest score with 46.16.
  • In the aged states and relatively aged states categories, Telangana and Gujarat scored the lowest with 38.19 and 49.00, respectively.

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

Poverty in India is on rise again

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Poverty estimates

Mains level : Pauperization in India

In the absence of Consumption Expenditure Survey (CES) data, the Periodic Labour Force Survey shows a rise in the absolute number of the poor in India.

About Consumption Expenditure Survey (CES)

  • A CES is conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSO) every five years.
  • But the CES of 2017-18 (already conducted a year late) was not made public by the Government of India.
  • Now, we hear that a new CES is likely to be conducted in 2021-22, the data from which will probably not be available before end-2022.
  • India has not released its CES data since 2011-12.

Key highlights

  • Unemployment had reached a 45-year high in 2017-18, as revealed by NSO’s Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS).
  • While the PLFS’s questions on consumption expenditure are not as detailed as those of the CES, they are sufficient for us to estimate changes in consumption on a consistent basis across time.
  • It enables any careful researcher to estimate the incidence of poverty (i.e. the share in the total population of those below the poverty line), as well as the total number of persons below poverty.

There is unemployment induced poverty

  • There is a clear trajectory of the incidence of poverty falling from 1973 to 2012.
  • In fact, since India began collecting data on poverty, the incidence of poverty has always fallen, consistently.
  • It was 54.9% in 1973-4; 44.5% in 1983-84; 36% in 1993-94 and 27.5% in 2004-05.
  • This was in accordance with the Lakdawala poverty line (which was lower than the Tendulkar poverty line), named after a distinguished economist, then a member of the Planning Commission.

Methodology of Poverty Line

  • In 2011, it was decided in the Planning Commission, that the national poverty line will be raised in accordance with the recommendations of an expert group chaired by the late Suresh Tendulkar.
  • That is the poverty line we use in estimating poverty in the table.
  • As it happens, this poverty line was comparable at the time to the international poverty line (estimated by the World Bank), of $1.09 (now raised to $1.90 to account for inflation) person per day.
  • The PLFS also estimates the incidence of poverty. It also collects the household monthly per capita consumption expenditure data based on the Mixed Recall Period methodology.

Stunning rise in Poverty

  • It is stunning fact that for the first time in India’s history of estimating poverty, there is a rise in the incidence of poverty since 2011-12.
  • The important point is that this is consistent with the NSO’s CES data for 2017-18 that was leaked data.
  • The leaked data showed that rural consumption between 2012 and 2018 had fallen by 8%, while urban consumption had risen by barely 2%.
  • Since the majority of India’s population (certainly over 65%) is rural, poverty in India is also predominantly rural.
  • Remarkably, by 2019-20, poverty had increased significantly in both the rural and urban areas, but much more so in rural areas (from 25% to 30%).

Why is it intriguing?

  • It is important here to recall two facts: between 1973 and 1993, the absolute number of poor had remained constant (at about 320 million poor), despite a significant increase in India’s total population.
  • Between 1993 and 2004, the absolute number of poor fell by a marginal number (18 million) from 320 million to 302 million, during a period when the GDP growth rate had picked up after the economic reforms.
  • It is for the first time in India’s history since the CES began that we have seen an increase in the absolute numbers of the poor, between 2012-13 and 2019-20.
  • The second fact is that for the first time ever, between 2004-05 and 2011-12, the number of the poor fell, and that too by a staggering 133 million, or by over 19 million per year.

Fuss over GDP growth

  • This was accounted for by what has come to be called India’s ‘dream run’ of growth: over 2004 and 2014, the GDP growth rate had averaged 8% per annum — a 10-year run that was not sustained thereafter.
  • By contrast, not only has the incidence of poverty increased since then, but the absolute increase in poverty is totally unprecedented.

Reasons behind this Pauperization

The reasons for increased poverty since 2013 are not far to seek:

  • GST: While the economy maintained some growth momentum till 2015, the monumental blunder of demonetization was followed by a poorly planned and hurriedly introduced GST.
  • Fall in investments: None of the engines of growth was firing after that. Private investment fell from 31% inherited by the new government, to 28% of GDP by 2019-20.
  • Fall in exports: Exports, which had never fallen in absolute dollar terms for a quarter-century since 1991, actually fell below the 2013-14 level ($315 billion) for five years.
  • Unemployment: Joblessness increased to a 45-year high by 2017-18 (by the usual status), and youth (15-29 years of age) saw unemployment triple from 6% to 18% between 2012 and 2018.
  • Fall in wages: Real wages did not increase for casual or regular workers over the same period, hardly surprising when job seekers were increasing but jobs were not at anywhere close to that rate.
  • Pandemic: Poverty is expected to rise further during the COVID-19 pandemic after the economy has contracted.

Hence, consumer expenditure fell, and poverty increased.


Back2Basics:

Poverty Lines in India: Estimations and Committees

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

What is National Security Council (NSC)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National Security Council (NSC)

Mains level : Not Much

The budgetary allocation for the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) increased 10 times from ₹33.17 crores in 2016-17 to ₹333.58 crores in 2017-18.

National Security Council (NSC)

  • The NSC is an executive government agency tasked with advising the Prime Minister’s Office on matters of national security and strategic interest.
  • It was established by the former PM of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 19 November 1998, with Brajesh Mishra as the first National Security Advisor.
  • Prior to the formation of the NSC, these activities were overseen by the Principal Secretary to the preceding Prime Minister.

Members

  • Besides the NSA the Deputy National Security Advisors, the Ministers of Defence, External Affairs, Home, Finance of the Government of India, and the Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog are members of the National Security Council.
  • PM can chair the meeting of NSC (for eg – PM chaired the meeting of NSC Post Pulwama to discuss heightened tension with Pakistan).
  • Other members may be invited to attend its monthly meetings, as and when is required.

Organizational structure

  • The NSC is the apex body of the three-tiered structure of the national security management system in India.
  • The three tiers are the Strategic Policy Group, the National Security Advisory Board, and a secretariat from the Joint Intelligence Committee.

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

[pib] Periodic Labour Force Survey (2019 –2020)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PLFS

Mains level : Unemployment in India

The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) Annual Report for July, 2019 to June 2020 was recently released by the National Statistical Office (NSO).

Periodic Labour Force Survey

  • Considering the importance of the availability of labor force data at more frequent time intervals, National Statistical Office (NSO) launched PLFS in April 2017.
  • The objective of PLFS is primarily twofold:
  1. to estimate the key employment and unemployment indicators (viz. Worker Population Ratio, Labour Force Participation Rate, Unemployment Rate) in the short time interval of three months for the urban areas only in the Current Weekly Status (CWS).
  2. to estimate employment and unemployment indicators in both ‘Usual Status’ and CWS in both rural and urban areas annually.

Various dimensions of the survey

The PLFS gives estimates of Key employment and unemployment Indicators:

  • Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR): LFPR is defined as the percentage of persons in the labor force (i.e. working or seeking or available for work) in the population.
  • Worker Population Ratio (WPR): WPR is defined as the percentage of employed persons in the population.
  • Unemployment Rate (UR): UR is defined as the percentage of persons unemployed among the persons in the labor force.
  • Activity Status- Usual Status: When the activity status is determined on the basis of the reference period of the last 365 days preceding the date of the survey, it is known as the usual activity status of the person.
  • Activity Status- Current Weekly Status (CWS): The activity status determined on the basis of a reference period of the last 7 days preceding the date of the survey is known as the CWS of the person.

Highlights of the third report

  • The Labour force participation ratio has increased to 40.1% in 2019-20 from 37.5% and 36.9%, respectively, in the last two years.
  • Worker population rate improved to 38.2% in 2019-20 compared with 35.3% in 2018-19 and 34.7% in 2017-18.
  • The unemployment rate fell to 4.8% in 2019-20. In 2018-19, it stood at 5.8% and 6.1% in 2017-18.

Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

[pib] United District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) 2019-20

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UDISE+

Mains level : State of higher education in India

The Union Education Minister has released the Report on United Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) 2019-20 for School Education in India.

What is UDISE+?

  • UDISE+ is one of the largest Management Information Systems on school education.
  • It covers more than 1.5 million schools, 8.5 million teachers and 250 million children.
  • Launched in 2018-2019, UDISE+ was introduced to speed up data entry, reduce errors, improve data quality and ease its verification.
  • It is an updated and improved version of UDISE, which was initiated in 2012-13 by the Ministry of Education under the UPA govt by integrating DISE for elementary education and SEMIS for secondary education.

Why is it important?

  • As per the UDISE+ website, “Timely and accurate data is the basis of sound and effective planning and decision-making.
  • Towards this end, the establishment of a well-functioning and Sustainable Educational Management Information System is of utmost importance today.”
  • In short, the UDISE+ helps measure the education parameters from classes 1 to 12 in government and private schools across India.

What does the 2019-20 report say?

  • The total enrolment in 2019-20 from primary to higher secondary levels of school education was a little over 25.09 crore.
  • Enrolment for boys was 13.01 crore and that of the girls was 12.08 crore.
  • This was an increase by more than 26 lakh over the previous year 2018-19.

(1) Pupil-teacher ratio improves

  • The Pupil-Teacher Ratio — the average number of pupils (at a specific level of education) per teacher (teaching at that level of education) in a given school year — showed an improvement all levels of school education in 2019-2020 over 2012-2013.

(2) GER improves

  • The gross enrolment ratio (GER), which compares the enrolment in a specific level of education to the population of the age group which is age-appropriate for that level of education has improved at all levels in 2019-2020 compared to 2018-2019.
  • The GER increased to 89.7 percent (from 87.7 percent) at Upper Primary level, 97.8 percent (from 96.1 percent) at Elementary Level, 77.9 percent (from 76.9 percent) at Secondary Level and 51.4 percent (from 50.1 percent) at Higher Secondary Level in 2019-20 compared to 2018-19.
  • GER for girls at secondary level has gone up by 9.6 percent to reach 77.8 percent in 2019-20 compared to 68.2 percent in 2012-13.

(3) Phyical infrastructure improves, but computers and internet access remain lacking

  • The report stated that just 38.5 percent of schools across the country had computers, while only 22.3 percent had an internet connection in 2019-20.
  • This is an improvement over 2018-2019 when 34.5 percent of schools had computers and a mere 18.7 percent of schools had internet access.

Key takeaways

  • While physical infrastructure is steadily improving, the digital infrastructure for schools has a long way to go.
  • With the overwhelming majority of schools have neither computers (61 percent) nor internet access (78 percent), achieving the Centre’s ‘Digital India’ vision when it comes to online education is still some ways off.
  • The vast increase in hand wash facilities is a big step towards the fulfilment of the Modi government’s ‘Swachh Bharat’ push.
  • The Gross Enrolment Ratio improving at all levels of school education in 2019-20 compared to 2018-19 is a plus.
  • While 93 lakh more boys enrolled in education than girls, when it comes to GER, the girls pulled ahead.

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

NITI Aayog releases study on ‘Not-for-Profit’ hospital model

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : India's healthcare system and its limitations

NITI Aayog has released a comprehensive study on the not-for-profit hospital model in the country, in a step towards closing the information gap on such institutions and facilitating robust policymaking in this area.

‘Not-for-Profit’ hospitals

  • The “Not-for-Profit” Hospital Sector has the reputation of providing affordable and accessible healthcare for many years.
  • This sector provides not only curative healthcare, but also preventive healthcare, and links healthcare with social reform, community engagement, and education.
  • They utilize the resources and grants provided to them by the Government to provide cost-effective healthcare to the population without being overly concerned about profits.
  • However, this sector remains largely understudied, with a lack of awareness about its services in the public domain.

Significance for India

  • As per the NITI Aayog’s report, the not-for-profit hospitals account for only 1.1% of treated ailments as of June 2018.
  • The report further revealed that for-profit hospitals account for 55.3% of in-patients, while not-for-profit hospitals account for only 2.7% of in-patients in the country.
  • The cumulative cost of care at not-for-profit hospitals is lesser than for-profit hospitals by about one-fourth in the in-patient department.
  • This is reckoned by the package component of cost, which is approximately 20% lower, the doctor’s or surgeon’s charges, which are approximately 36% lower and the major aspect being the bed charges, which are approximately 44% lower than the for-profit hospitals.

NITI Aayog’s approach

  • Categorization of the prominent not-for-profit hospitals based on the premise of services and their ownership
  • Understanding the business model of the hospitals i.e. the financial viability, and their dependence on donations and grants
  • Understanding the challenges faced by these hospitals
  • Formulation of recommendations for policy interventions to promote the sector

Categories of such hospitals

Using the above-mentioned approach and secondary research, the following four categories were defined for the not-for-profit hospitals:

  1. Faith-based Hospitals
  2. Community-based Hospitals
  3. Cooperative Hospitals
  4. Private Trust Hospitals

Why need such hospitals?

  • There has been relatively low investment in the expansion of the health sector in the private domain.
  • The not-for-profit hospital sector provides not only curative but also preventive healthcare.
  • It links healthcare with social reform, community engagement, and education.
  • It uses government resources and grants to provide cost-effective healthcare to people without being concerned about profits.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA)

Mains level : Not Much

The National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) has directed GST officials across the country to ensure that the tax rate cuts notified on some COVID-19-related essentials are passed on to consumers.

What is National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA)?

  • The NAA has been constituted under Section 171 of the Central GST Act, 2017 to ensure that the reduction in the rate of tax or the benefit of the input tax credit is passed on to the recipient by way of commensurate reduction in prices.
  • The decision about the formation of the NAA came in the background of a rate reduction of a large number of items by the GST Council in its 22ndmeeting at Guwahati.
  • At the meeting, the Council reduced rates of more than 200 items including goods and services.
  • This has made a tremendous price reduction effect and the consumers will be benefited only if the traders are making the quick reduction of the prices of respective items.
  • There was a concern that traders are reluctant to make price cuts so that they can make a profit.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q. Consider the following items:

  1. Cereal grains hulled
  2. Chicken eggs cooked
  3. Fish processed and canned
  4. Newspapers containing advertising material

Which of the above items is/are exempt under GST (Goods and Services Tax)?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1, 2 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

What is profiteering?

  • Profiteering means unfair profit realized by traders by manipulating prices, tax rate adjustment etc.
  • In the context of the newly launched GST, profiteering means that traders are not reducing the prices of the commodities when the GST Council reduces the tax rates of commodities and services.
  • Conventionally, several traders will have a strong tendency to quickly increase the price of a commodity whose tax rate has been increased.
  • But on the opposite side, they may delay the price reduction of a commodity whose tax rate has been cut by the government.
  • A delayed or postponed price reduction helps business firms to make a higher profits. The losers here are the consumers.

Functioning of NAA

  • The Authority’s main function is to ensure that traders are not realizing unfair profit by charging high prices from the consumers in the name of GST.
  • Traders may charge high prices from the consumers by naming the GST factor.
  • Similarly, they may not make quick and corresponding price reductions when the GST Council makes a tax cut. All these constitute profiteering.
  • The responsibility of the NAA is to examine and check such profiteering activities and recommend punitive actions including the cancellation of licenses.

Steps were taken by the NAA to ensure that customers get the full benefit of tax cuts:

  • Holding regular meetings with the Zonal Screening Committees and the Chief Commissioners of Central Tax to stress upon consumer awareness programs;
  • Launching a helpline to resolve the queries of citizens regarding registration of complaints against profiteering.
  • Receiving complaints through email and the NAA portal.
  • Working with consumer welfare organizations in order to facilitate outreach activities.

Electoral Reforms In India

ECI releases an Atlas on General Elections 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Atlas on General Elections

Mains level : Unique features of Indian general elections

The Election Commission of India has released ‘General Elections 2019 – An Atlas’.

Atlas on General Elections

  • The Atlas encompasses all the data and statistical figures of this monumental event. It shares interesting facts, anecdotes and legal provisions related to the Indian elections.
  • It brings out salient features such as data of the 23 States and Uts where women voting percentage was more than the male voting percentage.
  • It has information about the largest & smallest parliamentary constituency in terms of electors, candidates and performance of political parties amongst other parameters.
  • The Atlas depicts the elector’s data in different categories and through various comparison charts like Elector Gender Ratio and electors in different age categories.
  • This Atlas serves as an informative and illustrative document that brings to light the nuances of the Indian electoral process and empowers readers to analyze trends and changes.

Data on 2019 Elections

  • The 2019 General Elections witnessed the lowest gender gap in the history of Indian elections.
  • The Elector Gender Ratio which has shown a positive trend since 1971 was 926 in the 2019 General Elections.
  • The Atlas also compares the average number of electors per polling station in different states during the 2014 & 2019 General Elections.
  • The Election Commission of India set up over 10 lakh polling stations in General Elections 2019 with the lowest number of electors per polling station (365) in Arunachal Pradesh.

Why was such Atlas needed?

  • Since the first General Elections in 1951-52, the Commission has been publishing a compilation of electoral data in the form of narrative and statistical books.
  • 17th General Elections conducted in 2019 were the largest democratic exercise in human history which witnessed the participation of 61.468 crore voters at 10.378 lakh polling stations spread over 32 lakh sq km.

Parliament – Sessions, Procedures, Motions, Committees etc

Annual Review of State Laws Report, 2020

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Annual Review of State Laws

Mains level : Not Much

The COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown had a huge impact on the working of the state legislatures in India.  The PRS Legislative Research’s “Annual review of state laws 2020” shows that the productivity and efficacy of State legislatures are poor.

Annual Review of State Laws

  • This report focuses on the legislative work performed by states in the calendar year 2020.
  • It is based on data compiled from state legislature websites and state gazettes.
  • It covers 19 state legislatures, including the union territory of Delhi, which together accounts for 90% of the population of the country.

Highlights of the report

(1) Sittings of states

  • Compared with its average number of sitting days of 32 from 2016 to 2019, the Karnataka legislature, which is bicameral, met on 31 days last year, the highest for any State in 2020.
  • The southern State was followed by Rajasthan (29 days) and Himachal Pradesh (25 days). For comparison, Parliament met for 33 days last year.
  • In 2020, the average number of sitting days for the 19 States was 18, which was 11 less than the four-year (2016-19) average of 29.
  • Kerala, which had the distinction of remaining at the top in the four years with an average of 53 days, had only 20 days of sittings of the legislature last year.

(2) Number of bills

  • As for the number of Bills passed last year, Karnataka again topped the list with 61 Bills, followed by Tamil Nadu (42) and Uttar Pradesh (37). For this purpose, Appropriation Bills were excluded.
  • Among poor performers under this category, Delhi passed only one Bill; West Bengal passed two Bills and Kerala three Bills.

(3) Time taken for passing bills

  • On the duration of time taken to pass Bills, the previous year saw 59% of the Bills being passed by the legislature of the States on the day of introduction.
  • A further 14% was adopted within a day of being introduced.
  • Only 9% of the Bills were passed more than five days after introduction, some of which were referred to committees for further examination.

Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

[pib] All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2019-20

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AISHE Survey

Mains level : Read the attached story

Union Education Minister has announced the release of the report of All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2019-20.

This newscard provides useful data about the state of higher education in India on various parameters. Such data should not be missed while substantiating any point in answer writing.

About AISHE

  • AISHE was established by the Ministry of HRD for conducting an annual web-based survey, thereby portraying the status of higher education in the country.
  • The survey is conducted for all educational institutions in India on many categories like teachers, student enrolment, programs, examination results, education finance, and infrastructure.
  • This survey is used to make informed policy decisions and research for the development of the education sector.
  • This Report provides key performance indicators on the current status of Higher education in the country.

Highlights of the 2019-20 Report

(1) Total Enrolment

(2) Gross Enrolment Ratio

(3) Gender Parity Index (GPI)

  • GPI in Higher Education in 2019-20 is 1.01 against 1.00 in 2018-19 indicating an improvement in the relative access to higher education for females of eligible age group compared to males.

(4) Pupil-Teacher Ratio

 

  • TPR in Higher Education in 2019-20 is 26. In 2019-20: Universities: 1,043(2%); Colleges: 42,343(77%) and stand-alone institutions: 11,779(21%).

(5) Enrolment in higher education

  • 38 crore Students enrolled in programs at under-graduate and post-graduate levels.
  • Out of these, nearly 85% of the students (2.85 crore) were enrolled in the six major disciplines such as Humanities, Science, Commerce, Engineering & Technology, Medical Science and IT & Computer.

(6) Doctorate pursuance

  • The number of students pursuing PhD in 2019-20 is 2.03 lakh against 1.17 lakh in 2014-15.

(7) Total number of teachers

  • The Total Number of Teachers stands at 15,03,156 comprising of 57.5% male and 42.5% female.

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

Performance Grading Index 2020 by Education Ministry

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Performance Grading Index

Mains level : NA

The Education Ministry’s Performance Grading Index for 2019-20 was recently released.

Performance Grading Index

  • The PGI is a tool to provide insights on the status of school education in States and UTs including key levers that drive their performance and critical areas for improvement.
  • It monitors the progress that States and UTs have made in school education with regard to learning outcomes, access and equity, infrastructure and facilities, and governance and management processes.
  • Grading will allow all States and UTs to occupy the highest level i.e Grade I, at the same time which is a sign of a fully developed nation.

Its methodology

  • This is the third edition of the index and uses 70 indicators to measure progress.
  • Of these, the 16 indicators related to learning outcomes remain unchanged through all three editions, as they are based on data from the 2017 National Achievement Survey, which tested students in Classes 3, 5, 8, and 10.

Highlights of the 2019-20 Report

  • Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala have all scored higher than 90%.
  • Gujarat dropped from second to the eighth rank in the index, while MP and Chhattisgarh are the only States which have seen actual regression in scores over this period.

NITI Aayog’s Assessment

[pib] SDG India Index 2021

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SDG Index

Mains level : India's quest for SDGs

The third edition of the SDG India Index and Dashboard 2020–21 was released by NITI Aayog.

SDG India Index

  • The index measures the progress at the national and sub-national level in the country’s journey towards meeting the Global Goals and targets.
  • It has been successful as an advocacy tool to propagate the messages of sustainability, resilience, and partnerships, as well.
  • From covering 13 Goals, 39 targets, and 62 indicators in the first edition in 2018-19 to 17 Goals, 54 targets and 100 indicators in the second; this third edition of the index covers 17 Goals, 70 targets, and 115 indicators.

Aims and objectives

  • The construction of the index and the ensuing methodology embodies the central objectives of measuring the performance of States and UTs on the SDGs and ranking them.
  • It aims at supporting States and UTs in identifying areas which require more attention; and promoting healthy competition among them.

Methodology and Process

  • The index estimation is based on data on indicators for the first 16 goals, with a qualitative assessment for Goal 17.
  • The technical process of target setting and normalization of scores follow the globally established methodology.
  • While target setting enables the measurement of the distance from the target for each indicator, the process of normalization of positive and negative indicators allows for comparability and estimation of goal-wise scores.
  • The composite score of a State is derived by assigning each goal the same weight, keeping in mind the indivisible nature of the 2030 Agenda.
  • The selection of indicators is preceded by a consultative process undertaken in close coordination with MoSPI, Union Ministries and stakeholders from States and UTs.

Highlights of the 2021 Report

States and Union Territories are classified as below based on their SDG India Index score:

  • Aspirant: 0–49
  • Performer: 50–64
  • Front-Runner: 65–99
  • Achiever: 100

Its significance

  • The index represents the articulation of the comprehensive nature of the Global Goals under the 2030 Agenda while being attuned to the national priorities.
  • The modular nature of the index has become a policy tool and a ready reckoner for gauging the progress of States and UTs on the nature of goals including health, education, gender, economic growth and climate change and the environment.

Back2Basics: Sustainable Development Goals

  • The UN General Assembly in its 70thSession considered and adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next 15 years.
  • The 17 SDGs came into force with effect from 1st January 2016.
  • Though not legally binding, the SDGs have become de facto international obligations and have the potential to reorient domestic spending priorities of the countries during the next fifteen years.
  • Countries are expected to take ownership and establish a national framework for achieving these goals.
  • Implementation and success will rely on countries’ own sustainable development policies, plans, and programs.

Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

CBI

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CBI

Mains level : Issues with the CBI

The high-powered selection committee headed by the Prime Minister has finalized some names for the post of CBI director.

Try answering this:

Q.Why the CBI is called “a caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice”? Critically comment.

Central Bureau of Investigation

  • The CBI is the premier investigating agency of India operating under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
  • It was originally set up to investigate bribery and governmental corruption.
  • In 1965 it received expanded jurisdiction to investigate breaches of central laws enforceable by the Government of India, multi-state organized crime, multi-agency or international cases.
  • The agency has been known to investigate several economic crimes, special crimes, cases of corruption, and other cases.
  • CBI is exempted from the provisions of the Right to Information Act. CBI is India’s officially designated single point of contact for liaison with Interpol.

Its composition

  • The CBI is headed by a Director, an IPS officer with a rank of Director General of Police.
  • The director is selected by a high-profile committee constituted under The Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946 as amended through The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, and has a two-year term.
  • The Appointment Committee consists of:
  1. Prime Minister – Chairperson
  2. Leader of Opposition of Loksabha or the Leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha, if the former is not present due to lack of mandated strength in the Lok Sabha – member
  3. Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court Judge recommended by the Chief Justice – member

Jurisdiction, powers and restrictions

  • The legal powers of investigation of the CBI are derived from the DSPE Act 1946, which confers powers, duties, privileges and liabilities on the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) and officers of the UTs.
  • The central government may extend to any area (except UTs) the powers and jurisdiction of the CBI for investigation, subject to the consent of the government of the concerned state.
  • Members of the CBI at or above the rank of sub-inspector may be considered officers in charge of police stations.
  • Under the DSPE Act, the CBI can investigate only with notification by the central government.

Relationship with state police

  • The CBI was originally constituted under the DSPE Act, to operate within the territory of Delhi.
  • As policing and law is a subject that falls within state powers under the structure of Indian federalism, the CBI needs prior consent from other state governments in order to conduct investigations within their territory.
  • This consent can be in the form of a ‘general consent’ under Section 6 of the DSPE Act, which remains in operation for all investigations.
  • Once consent is granted, the CBI can investigate economic, corruption, and special crimes (including national security, drugs and narcotics, etc.)
  • Most Indian states had granted general consent to the CBI to investigate crimes within their territory.
  • However, as of 2020, several states have withdrawn their ‘general consent’ for the CBI to operate, and require special consent to be granted on a case-to-case basis.

Issues with CBI

  • In 2013, Judge of the Supreme Court of India (and later CJI) R. M. Lodha criticized the CBI for being a “caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice”.
  • This was due to its excessive political interference irrespective of which party happened to be in power.

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

What is Index of Industrial Production (IIP)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IIP

Mains level : Read the attached story

Last week saw the release of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which recorded a contraction of 1.6% in January.

Index of Industrial Production (IIP)

  • Index of Industrial Production data or IIP as it is commonly called is an index that tracks manufacturing activity in different sectors of an economy.
  • The IIP number measures the industrial production for the period under review, usually a month, as against the reference period.
  • IIP is a key economic indicator of the manufacturing sector of the economy.
  • There is a lag of six weeks in the publication of the IIP index data after the reference month ends.
  • IIP index is currently calculated using 2011-2012 as the base year.

IIP Index Components:

  • Mining, manufacturing, and electricity are the three broad sectors in which IIP constituents fall.
  • The relative weights of these three sectors are 77.6% (manufacturing), 14.4% (mining) and 8% (electricity).
  • Electricity, crude oil, coal, cement, steel, refinery products, natural gas, and fertilizers are the eight core industries that comprise about 40 per cent of the weight of items included in the IIP.

Basket of products

There are 6 sub-categories:

  1. Primary Goods (consisting of mining, electricity, fuels and fertilisers)
  2. Capital Goods (e.g. machinery items)
  3. Intermediate Goods (e.g. yarns, chemicals, semi-finished steel items, etc)
  4. Infrastructure Goods (e.g. paints, cement, cables, bricks and tiles, rail materials, etc)
  5. Consumer Durables (e.g. garments, telephones, passenger vehicles, etc)
  6. Consumer Non-durables (e.g. food items, medicines, toiletries, etc)

Who releases IIP data?

  • The IIP data is compiled and published by CSO every month.
  • CSO or Central Statistical Organisation operates under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).
  • The IIP index data, once released, is also available on the PIB website.

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

Who uses IIP data?

  • The factory production data (IIP) is used by various government agencies such as the Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), private firms and analysts, among others for analytical purposes.
  • The data is also used to compile the Gross Value Added (GVA) of the manufacturing sector in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on a quarterly basis.

IIP base year change:

  • The base year was changed to 2011-12 from 2004-05 in the year 2017.
  • The earlier base years were 1937, 1946, 1951, 1956, 1960, 1970, 1980-81, 1993-94 and 2004-05.

IIP vs ASI

  • While the IIP is a monthly indicator, the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) is the prime source of long-term industrial statistics.
  • The ASI is used to track the health of industrial activity in the economy over a longer period. The index is compiled out of a much larger sample of industries compared to IIP.
  • The IIP essentially tracks the change in the volume of production in Indian industries.

NITI Aayog’s Assessment

[pib] SDG India Index, 2021

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SGG India Index

Mains level : Sustainable Development Goals

The third rendition of India’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index will be launched by NITI Aayog today.

First launched in December 2018, the index has become the primary tool for monitoring progress on the SDGs in the country and has simultaneously fostered competition among the States and UTs.

SDG India Index

  • The index measures the progress at the national and sub-national level in the country’s journey towards meeting the Global Goals and targets.
  • It has been successful as an advocacy tool to propagate the messages of sustainability, resilience, and partnerships, as well.
  • From covering 13 Goals, 39 targets, and 62 indicators in the first edition in 2018-19 to 17 Goals, 54 targets and 100 indicators in the second; this third edition of the index covers 17 Goals, 70 targets, and 115 indicators.

Aims and objectives

  • The construction of the index and the ensuing methodology embodies the central objectives of measuring the performance of States and UTs on the SDGs and ranking them.
  • It aims at supporting States and UTs in identifying areas which require more attention; and promoting healthy competition among them.

Methodology and Process

  • The index estimation is based on data on indicators for the first 16 goals, with a qualitative assessment for Goal 17.
  • The technical process of target setting and normalization of scores follow the globally established methodology.
  • While target setting enables the measurement of the distance from the target for each indicator, the process of normalization of positive and negative indicators allows for comparability and estimation of goal wise scores.
  • The composite score of a State is derived by assigning each goal the same weight, keeping in mind the indivisible nature of the 2030 Agenda.
  • The selection of indicators is preceded by a consultative process undertaken in close coordination with MoSPI, Union Ministries and stakeholders from States and UTs.

Highlights of the 2021 Report

*The launch has been postponed due to model code of conduct by the Election Commission.

Its significance

  • The index represents the articulation of the comprehensive nature of the Global Goals under the 2030 Agenda while being attuned to the national priorities.
  • The modular nature of the index has become a policy tool and a ready reckoner for gauging the progress of States and UTs on the nature of goals including health, education, gender, economic growth and climate change and the environment.

Back2Basics: Sustainable Development Goals

  • The UN General Assembly in its 70thSession considered and adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next 15 years.
  • The 17 SDGs came into force with effect from 1st January 2016.
  • Though not legally binding, the SDGs have become de facto international obligations and have potential to reorient domestic spending priorities of the countries during the next fifteen years.
  • Countries are expected to take ownership and establish a national framework for achieving these Goals.
  • Implementation and success will rely on countries’ own sustainable development policies, plans and programmes.

Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

[pib] Ease of Living Index (EOLI) 2020

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : EOLI, MPI

Mains level : Not Much

The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has announced the release of the final rankings of the Ease of Living Index (EoLI) 2020 and the Municipal Performance Index (MPI) 2020.

For any such index, always note the verticals i.e. the various parameters.

Ease of Living Index (EoLI)

  • It is an assessment tool that evaluates the quality of life and the impact of various initiatives for urban development.
  • It provides a comprehensive understanding of participating cities across India based on the quality of life, the economic ability of a city, and its sustainability and resilience.
  • It examines the outcomes that lead to existing living conditions through pillars of Quality of Life, Economic Ability, Sustainability.

Municipal Performance Index (MPI)

  • It was launched as an accompaniment to the Ease of Living Index.
  • The five verticals under MPI are Services, Finance, Policy, Technology and Governance.
  • The Ease of Living Index encapsulates the outcome indicators while the Municipal Performance Index captures the enabling input parameters.

Performance of cities

  • Bengaluru emerged as the top performer in the Million+ categories, followed by Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Surat, Navi Mumbai, Coimbatore, Vadodara, Indore, and Greater Mumbai.
  • In the Less than Million category, Shimla was ranked the highest in ease of living, followed by Bhubaneshwar, Silvassa, Kakinada, Salem, Vellore, Gandhinagar, Gurugram, Davangere, and Tiruchirappalli.

Why need such indices?

  • The EoLI primarily seeks to accelerate India’s urban development outcomes, including the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The findings from the index can help guide evidence-based policymaking.
  • It also promotes healthy competition among cities, encouraging them to learn from their peers and advance their development trajectory.

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

NITI Aayog’s Draft National Policy on Migrant Workers

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Migration pattern in India

Mains level : Welfare of the migrant workers

Spurred by the exodus of 10 million migrants from big cities during the Covid-19 lockdown, the NITI Aayog has prepared a draft national migrant labour policy.

Highlights of the Policy

  • The draft describes two approaches to policy design:
  1. To focus on cash transfers, special quotas, and reservations
  2. To enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive

A rights-based approach

  • The policy rejects a handout approach, opting instead for a rights-based framework.
  • It seeks to remove restrictions on the true agency and potential of the migrant workers.
  • The goal a/c to the document should not be to provide temporary or permanent economic or social aids”, which is “a rather limited approach”.
  • Migration, the draft says, should be acknowledged as an integral part of the development and government policies should not hinder but…seek to facilitate internal migration.

Issues with existing law

  • The 2017 report argued that specific protection legislation for migrant workers was unnecessary.
  • Migrant workers aren’t yet integrated with all workers as part of an overarching framework that covers regular and contractual work.
  • The report discussed the limitations of The Inter-State Migrant Workers Act, 1979, which was designed to protect labourers from exploitation by contractors by safeguarding their right to non-discriminatory wages.
  • It mentions that the Ministry of Labour and Employment should amend the 1979 Act for “effective utilization to protect migrants”.

Restructuring the institutions

The NITI draft lays down institutional mechanisms to coordinate between Ministries, states, and local departments to implement programmes for migrants.

  • Nodal agency: It identifies the Ministry of Labour and Employment as the nodal Ministry for implementation of policies, and asks it to create a special unit to help to converge the activities of other Ministries.
  • Resources centre: This unit would manage migration resource centres in high migration zones, a national labour Helpline, links of worker households to government schemes, and inter-state migration management bodies.
  • Migration corridors: On the inter-state migration management bodies, it says that labour departments of source and destination states along major migration corridors, should work together through the migrant worker cells.
  • Labour officers from source states can be deputed to destinations – e.g., Bihar’s experiment to have a joint labour commissioner at Bihar Bhavan in New Delhi.
  • Role for Panchayats: Alongside the long-term goal, policies should promote the role of panchayats to aid migrant workers and integrate urban and rural policies to improve the conditions of migration.
  • Migration management: Panchayats should maintain a database of migrant workers, issue identity cards and passbooks, and provide “migration management and governance” through training, placement, and social-security benefit assurance, the draft says.

Ways to stem migration

  • Even as it underlines the key role of migration in development, the draft recommends steps to stem migration.
  • The draft asks source states to raise minimum wages to bring a major shift in the local livelihood of tribal that may result in stemming migration to some extent.
  • The absence of community building organisations (CBO) and administrative staff in the source states have hindered access to development programmes, pushing tribals towards migration, the draft says.
  • The “long term plan” for CBOs and panchayats should be to “alleviate distress migration policy initiatives” by aiming “for a more pro-poor development strategy in the sending areas.

The importance of data

  • The draft calls for a central database to help employers “fill the gap between demand and supply” and ensures “maximum benefit of social welfare schemes”.
  • It asks the Ministries and the Census office to be consistent with the definitions of migrants and subpopulations, capture seasonal and circular migrants, and incorporate migrant-specific variables in existing surveys.
  • Both documents see limited merit in Census data that comes only once a decade.
  • It asked the National Sample Survey Office to include questions related to migration in the periodic labour force survey and to carry out a separate survey on migration.

Preventing exploitation

  • The policy draft describes a lack of administrative capacity to handle issues of exploitation.
  • State labour departments have little engagement with migration issues, and are in “halting human trafficking mode”, the draft says.
  • The local administration, given the usual constraints of manpower, is not in a position to monitor.
  • This has become the breeding ground for middlemen to thrive on the situation and entrap migrants which leads to potential exploitation and trafficking.

Specific recommendations

  • The draft asks the various ministries to use Tribal Affairs migration data to help create migration resource centres in high migration zones.
  • It asks the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to focus on skill-building at these centres.
  • The Ministry of Education should take measures under the Right to Education Act to mainstream migrant children’s education, to map migrant children, and to provide local-language teachers in migrant destinations.
  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs should address issues of night shelters, short-stay homes, and seasonal accommodation for migrants in cities.
  • The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and Ministry of Labour should set up grievance handling cells and fast track legal responses for trafficking, minimum wage violations, and workplace abuses etc.