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Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

Status of Policing in India Report 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the report

Mains level : Need for Police Reforms


News

  • In a new report that looks at the working conditions of police in India, one key finding is about the political pressure perceived by police, and the extent to which this hampers their investigations.

About the Report

  • ‘Status of Policing in India Report 2019: Police Adequacy and Working Conditions’ has been prepared by Common Cause and the Lokniti programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).

Key Findings

  • 28% police personnel believe that pressure from politicians is the biggest hindrance in a crime investigation.
  • Taking into account various kinds of obstacles, 2 in 5 police personnel believe that these pressures are the biggest obstacle in crime investigation.
  • The other obstacles cited were related to society, legal systems and internal working systems in police.

Popular cases

  • 38% personnel reported always facing pressure from politicians in cases of crime involving influential persons.
  • Roughly one third also reported “always” facing pressure from their seniors in the police force.
  • This proportion drops to one-fifth of the police “always” facing pressure from media, while about 14% reported that they “always” faced pressure from human rights organisations/NGOs, judiciary and the common public in cases involving influential people.

Minorities at risk

  • One in two police personnel surveyed feel that Muslims are likely to be “naturally prone” to committing crimes.
  • It also found that 35 per cent of police personnel interviewed for the survey think it is natural for a mob to punish the “culprit” in cases of cow slaughter, and 43 per cent think it is natural for a mob to punish someone accused of rape.
Mother and Child Health – Immunization Program, BPBB, PMJSY, PMMSY, etc.

India’s Child Well-being Report

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Highlights of the report

Mains level : Child healthcare in India



News

  • India’s Child Well-being Index was recently released.

India’s Child Well-being Report

  • The India child well-being index is a crucial report that can be mined both by the Government and civil organisations to achieve the goal of child well-being and we will use this report effectively.
  • The report is released by the NGO World Vision India and research institute IFMR LEAD.
  • One of the primary objectives of this index is to garner attention to the under-researched theme of child well-being in India, and inspire further academic and policy conversations on related issues.
  • This report provides insights on health, nutrition, education, and sanitation and child protection.
  • The report is an attempt to look at how India fairs on child well-being using a composite child well-being index.

Performance by the states

  • Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Puducherry topped the charts in the child well-being index, a tool designed to measure and tracks children’s well-being comprehensively.
  • Meghalaya, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh featured at the bottom.

24 indicators

  • Focusing on the three key dimensions, 24 indicators were selected to develop the computation of the child well-being index.
  • The dimensions of the index include healthy individual development, positive relationships and protective contexts.
  • The report highlights the multi-dimensional approach towards measuring child well-being — going beyond mere income poverty.

A policy trigger

  • The research has brought to the fore compelling insights on child well-being in India.
  • The report, meanwhile, calls for States to look at their respective scores on the dimensions of child well-being, and to prepare for priority areas of intervention with specific plans of action.
  • It also hopes to trigger policy level changes, seek better budgetary allocations and initiate discussions with all stakeholders, which can help in enhancing the quality of life of all children in the country.
NPA Crisis

Advisory Board for Banking Frauds (ABBF)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ABBF

Mains level : Terms of reference for ABBF


News

Advisory Board for Banking Frauds (ABBF)

  • The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has constituted an Advisory Board for Banking Frauds (ABBF).
  • It will be headed by former Vigilance Commissioner T.M. Bhasin to examine bank fraud of over ₹50 crore and recommend action.
  • The panel in its previous avatar was called the Advisory Board on Bank, Commercial and Financial Frauds.

Terms of reference

  • The ABBF, formed in consultation with the RBI, would function as the first level of examination of all large fraud cases before recommendations or references are made to the investigative agencies by the respective public sector banks (PSBs)..
  • The four-member board’s jurisdiction would be confined to those cases involving the level of officers of General Manager and above in the PSB in respect of an allegation of a fraud in a borrowal account.
  • Lenders would refer all large fraud cases above ₹50 crore to the board and on receipt of its recommendation or advice, the bank concerned would take further action in such matter.
  • The CBI may also refer any case or matter to the board where it has any issue or difficulty or in technical matters with the PSB concerned.
  • The board would also periodically carry out frauds analysis in the financial system and give inputs for policy formulation related to the fraud to the RBI.
  • Headquartered in Delhi, the Reserve Bank of India will provide required secretarial services, logistic and analytical support along with the necessary funding to the board.

Membership of the panel

  • The tenure of the Chairman and members would be for a period of two years from August 21, 2019, .
Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

[pib] Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) 2.0  

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CWMI 2.0

Mains level : Utility of CWMI


News

  • NITI Aayog is set to release the second Round of Composite Water Management Index (CWMI 2.0).

About CWMI2.0

  • This has been done through a first of its kind water data collection exercise in partnership with Ministry of Jal Shakti, Ministry of Rural Development and all the States/ Union Territories.
  • The index would provide useful information for the States and also for the concerned Central Ministries/Departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.
  • CWMI 2.0 ranks various states for the reference year 2017-18 as against the base year 2016-17.

States Ranking

  • In the report released today, Gujarat hold on to its rank one in the reference year (2017-18), followed byAndhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • In North Eastern and Himalayan States, Himachal Pradesh has been adjudged number 1 in 2017-18 followed by Uttarakhand, Tripura and Assam.
  • The Union Territories have first time submitted their data and Puducherry has been declared as the top ranker.
  • In terms of incremental change in index (over 2016-17 level), Haryana holds number one position in general States and Uttarakhand ranks at first position amongst North Eastern and Himalayan States.
  • On an average, 80% of the states assessed on the Index over the last three years have improved their water management scores, with an average improvement of +5.2 points.

Back2Basics

Composite Water Management Index

  • NITI Aayog has come up with the Composite Water Management Index as a useful tool to assess and improve the performance in efficient management of water resources.
  • This index is an attempt to inspire States and UTs towards efficient and optimal utilization of water, and recycling thereof with a sense of urgency.
  • The index would provide useful information for the States and also for the concerned Central Ministries/Departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.

Sectors Prioritized for Water Management Index

  • Restoration of Water Bodies– Source Augmentation
  • Groundwater– Source Augmentation
  • Major and Medium Irrigation – Supply Side Management
  • Watershed Development – Supply Side Management
  • Participatory Irrigation Practices – Demand Side Management
  • Sustainable on-farm Water Use Practices – Demand Side Management
  • Rural Drinking Water
  • Urban Water Supply and Sanitation
  • Policy and Governance

Managing Water Resources

  • In view of limitations on availability of water resources and rising demand for water, sustainable management of water resources has acquired critical importance.
  • The index can be utilized to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.
Blockchain Technology: Prospects and Challenges

Cryptocurrency panel for ban on private digital currencies

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Blockchain, Distributed ledger technology (DLT)

Mains level : Cryptocurrencies regulation in India


News

  • The committee set up to look into the legality of cryptocurrencies and blockchain has submitted its report to the Finance Ministry and recommended that private cryptocurrencies be banned completely in India.

Committee on cryptocurrencies

  • The government had constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee in November 2017, under the Chairmanship of Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg and comprising senior officials of the MEITY, SEBI and the RBI.
  • The committee notes with serious concern mushrooming of cryptocurrencies almost invariably issued abroad and numerous people in India investing in these.
  • The Committee, however, leaves the door open for the central bank issued cryptocurrencies, adding that it endorsed the RBI’s stance of banning any sort of interface of cryptocurrencies with the banking system in India.
  • The Committee recommends that all private cryptocurrencies, except any cryptocurrency issued by the state, be banned in India.
  • It endorses the stand taken by the RBI to eliminate the interface of institutions regulated by the RBI from cryptocurrencies.
  • However, the report goes on to say that it would be advisable to “have an open mind” regarding the introduction of an official, government-backed cryptocurrency in India.
  • But it also added that it is currently unclear what the advantages of such a currency in India would be.

Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2019

  • The committee has drafted a law which mandates a fine and imprisonment of up to 10 years for offences.
  • The draft law says that anybody who mines, generates, holds, sells, deals in, transfers, disposes of or issues cryptocurrencies with will face a fine and/or jail time of between 1 and 10 years.
  • The fine has been set at the either three times the loss or harm caused by a person, or three times the gain made by the person, whichever is higher.

Why ban cryptocurrencies?

  • All the cryptocurrencies have been created by non-sovereigns.
  • They do not have any intrinsic value of their own and lack any of the attributes of a currency.
  • That is, they neither act as a store of value nor are they a medium of exchange in themselves.
  • These cryptocurrencies cannot serve the purpose of a currency.
  • The private cryptocurrencies are inconsistent with the essential functions of money/currency, hence private cryptocurrencies cannot replace fiat currencies.

More focus on the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain

  • Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is a digital system for recording the transaction of assets in which the transactions and their details are recorded in multiple places at the same time.
  • Unlike traditional databases, distributed ledgers have no central data store or administration functionality.
  • While the committee has taken a strong stance against cryptocurrencies, it has highlighted the benefits of the underlying technology—the distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain.
  • The Committee recommends that blockchain based systems may be considered by MEITY for building a low-cost KYC system that reduces the need for duplication of KYC requirements for individuals.
  • Further, the report said that DLT-based systems can be used by banks and other financial firms for loan tracking, collateral management, fraud detection, claims management in insurance etc.
  • Similarly, DLT can be beneficial for removing errors and frauds in land markets if the technology is implemented for maintaining land records.
  • The Committee therefore recommends that various state governments may examine the feasibility of using DLT for land-records management.

Back2Basics

Blockchains

  • Blockchain/ DLT are the building block of “internet of value,” and enable recording of interactions and transfer “value” peer-to-peer, without a need for a centrally coordinating entity.
  • “Value” refers to any record of ownership of asset — for example, money, securities, land titles — and also ownership of specific information like identity, health information and other personal data.
  • Blockchain is one type of a distributed ledger.
Digital India Initiatives

[pib] Broadband Readiness Index (BRI)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : BRI

Mains level : Utility of the BRI


News

Broadband Readiness Index (BRI)

  • The Department of Telecom and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) signed a MoU to develop a Broadband Readiness Index (BRI) for Indian States and UTs.
  • The first estimate will be made in 2019 and subsequently every year until 2022.

Why such index?

  • The National Digital Communication Policy (NDCP) 2018 acknowledged the need for building a robust digital communications infrastructure leveraging existing assets of the broadcasting and power sectors.
  • Accordingly the policy recommended that a BRI for States and UTs be developed to attract investments and address Right of Way challenges across India.

Utility of the index

  • This index will appraise the condition of the underlying digital infrastructure and related factors at the State/UT level.
  • Such an exercise will provide useful insights into strategic choices made by States for investment allocations in ICT programmes.
  • In the spirit of competitive federalism, the index will encourage states to cross learn and jointly participate in achieving the overall objective of digital inclusion and development in India.
  • The framework will not only evaluate a state’s relative development but will also allow for better understanding of a state’s strengths and weaknesses that can feed into evidence-based policy making.

BRI of components

  • Part I will focus on infrastructure development based on the measurement of nine parameters.
  • Part II consists of demand side parameters which will be captured through primary surveys.
  • It will include indicators such as percentage of households using computers/ laptops with internet connection, percentage of households with fixed broadband connection, internet users as a percentage of the population, smart phones density, percentage of households with at least one digitally literate member, etc.
  • This will be a first of its kind exercise that will comprehensively measure the development of telecom infrastructure at the sub national level.
Civil Aviation Sector – CA Policy 2016, UDAN, Open Skies, etc.

Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AERA

Mains level : Read the attached story


News

  • The Rajya Sabha has passed a Bill allowing the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) to bid out any new airport at a pre-determined tariff structure.
  • The AERA (Amendment) Bill was approved by the Cabinet in December 2017.

About AERA

  • AERA is a regulator that has the powers to set the tariffs charged at airports.
  • Sixteen airports will be under the jurisdiction of AERA.
  • All the other airports which would not be major airports will continue to be looked after by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Govt. of India.
  • Currently, all major airports with an annual capacity of handling 1.5 million passengers come under the purview of AERA.

Promises of the amendment

  • At present the passenger throughput at the airports under Airport Authority of India (AAI) is in the vicinity of 344.69 million.
  • So the limited purpose of this amendment is to substitute the figure 1.5 million which defined a major airport, which reflected 1.3 per cent of the passenger traffic at that point of time, by the figure 3.5 million.
  • This accurately reflects the state of traffic today and maintains proportionality.
  • If the amendment if effected, the definition of major airports will change to any aerodrome which has or is designated to have an annual passenger capacity of 3.5 million.

Why such bill?

  • The number of airports which are carrying high traffic has increased considerably and the government is hoping to ease the cumbersome process of fixing tariffs which the regulator had to undertake every five years.
  • With the advent of privatization and increasing number of airports being privatized, the Airports Authority shall not determine the tariff or tariff structures in the case such airports.
  • This is so because the tariff structure is part of the bid which is offered at the time of privatization.
Judiciary Institutional Issues

Centre for Research and Planning (CRP)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Centre for Research and Planning (CRP)

Mains level : Reform measures in Judiciary


News

  • Nine months after it was set up with an ambitious mandate to reform the judiciary, the Centre for Research and Planning (CRP), the Supreme Court’s in-house think tank, is now virtually disbanded.

Centre for Research and Planning (CRP)

  • The CRP was CJI Gogoi’s brainchild, and setting it up was one of the first decisions he took after assuming office in October 2018.
  • It was intended to improve public confidence in the judiciary that had taken a knocking after four most senior judges took to media to express their discontent.
  • Few Supreme Court judges had held a press conference in January 2018 to raise concerns on the functioning of the court, especially the allocation of cases by then CJI Dipak Misra.

Terms of reference for CRP

  • The CRP was asked to come up with short versions of key judgments without the jargon to connect with ordinary citizens.
  • The idea was mooted after the criticism the court received following the Sabarimala verdict in September 2018, allowing entry of women into the Kerala shrine.
  • The CRP was also tasked with creating a network of leading independent scholars in key domain areas, complementing state and national judicial academies in strengthening the knowledge infrastructure of the judiciary.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Food and Nutrition Security Analysis, India, 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Highlights of the report: Food and Nutrition Security Analysis, India, 2019

Mains level : Malnutrition in India


News

State of deficit

  • The Food and Nutrition Security Analysis, India, 2019, a report by the MoSPI and The World Food Programme lists Maharashtra as one of the six States with high levels of stunting and underweight.
  • The State also has a prevalence of stunting and wasting.
  • Here’s a look at the highlights of the report and overall malnutrition in Maharashtra.

What is malnutrition?

  • Malnutrition, in all its forms, includes undernutrition (wasting, stunting, underweight) inadequate vitamins or minerals, overweight, obesity, and resulting diet-related non-communicable diseases.

Types of malnutrition

  • Moderate Acute malnutrition (MAM): Children aged between six months and 59 months who are between the -2 and -3 standard deviation for weight for height (wasting) score.
  • Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM): Children aged between six months and 59 months and have a weight for height (wasting) score 3 standard deviations below the median, have a mid-upper-arm circumference less than 115 mm, or the presence of bilateral edema.
  • Severe Chronic Malnutrition (SCM): Calculated with the Z-score defined as a height-for-age index less than –3 standard deviations from the mean weight of a reference population of children of the same height and/or having edema.
  • Stunting: Calculation is based on height-for-age. It is is associated with an underdeveloped brain, poor learning capacity, and increased nutrition-related diseases.
  • Wasting: Calculated by weight-for-height. It is associated with decreased fat mass. Also known as wasting syndrome, it causes muscle and fat tissue to waste away.
  • Underweight: Calculated by the weight-for-age formula. It is a body weight considered to be too low to be healthy. It can reflect both stunting and wasting.

Food and malnutrition in the country

  • Over the last 20 years, total food grain production in India increased from 198 million tonnes to 269 million tonnes.
  • Despite increase in food production, the rate of malnutrition in India remains very high.
  • In the food basket, it turns out that in both urban and rural areas, the share of expenditure on cereal and cereal substitutes has declined between 1972-73 and 2011-12, from 57% to 25% in rural areas and from 36% to 19% in urban areas.
  • The energy and protein intake from cereals has decreased in both rural and urban India, largely because of increased consumption of other food items such as milk and dairy products, oils and fat and relatively unhealthy food such as fast food, processed food, and sugary beverages.
  • The consumption of unhealthy energy and protein sources is much higher in urban areas.

Double burden of malnutrition

  • For several decades India was dealing with only one form of malnutrition– undernutrition.
  • In the last decade, the double burden which includes both over- and undernutrition, is becoming more prominent and poses a new challenge for India.
  • From 2005 to 2016, prevalence of low (< 18.5 kg/m2) body mass index (BMI) in Indian women decreased from 36% to 23% and from 34% to 20% among Indian men.
  • During the same period, the prevalence of overweight/obesity (BMI > 30 kg/m2) increased from 13% to 21% among women and from 9% to 19% in men.
  • Children born to women with low BMI are more likely to be stunted, wasted, and underweight compared to children born to women with normal or high BMI.

States Performance

  • The highest levels of stunting and underweight are found in Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and
  • At the national level, among social groups, the prevalence of stunting is highest amongst children from the STs (43.6 percent), followed by SCs (42.5 percent) and OBCs (38.6 percent).
  • The prevalence of stunting in children from ST in Rajasthan, Odisha and Meghalaya is high while stunting in children from both ST and SC is high in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka.
  • Prevalence of wasting is highest in Jharkhand (29.0%) and above the national average in eight more States (Haryana, Goa, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, MP, Karnataka and Gujarat) and three UTs (Puducherry, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli).
  • Prevalence of underweight is also highest in Jharkhand (47.8%) and is above the National average in seven more States (Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, UP, MP and Bihar) and one UT (Dadra and Nagar Haveli).
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

NITI Aayog “Healthy States, Progressive India” Report and Health Index 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NITI Aayog’s Health Index

Mains level : Read the attached story



News

Kerala tops yet again

  • Kerala was ranked the best in the country in terms of health performance, according to health index scores in a report by NITI Aayog.
  • Kerala had an overall score of 74.01, with Andhra Pradesh coming second at 65.13.

NITI Aayog’s Health Index

  • The report is an annual systematic performance tool to measure the performance of the States and UTs.
  • It ranks states and union territories on their year on year incremental change in health outcomes, as well as, their overall performance with respect to each other.
  • The index analyses overall performance and incremental improvement in the States and the UTs for the period with 2015-16 as the base year and 2017-18 as the reference year.
  • HIV and tuberculosis detection and treatment, institutional deliveries, maternal and neonatal mortality rates, and immunisation coverage are among the indices measured and compared.
  • The states are broadly grouped into three: larger and smaller states and union territories so as to maintain a constant when comparing their health indices.
  • States had to fill in the responses in a specially created dashboard while a number of responses were pre-filled while sourced from National Family Health Survey-4 and Health Management Information System.

Performance by states:

Image source: Business Standard

Government Budgets

Fiscal Performance Index by CII

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CII, FPI

Mains level : FRBM


News

  • Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has come out with a ‘Fiscal Performance Index’ to assess quality of budgets presented by the Centre and state governments.

Fiscal Performance Index (FPI)

  • The composite FPI developed by CII is an innovative tool using multiple indicators to examine quality of Budgets at the Central and State levels.
  • The index has been constructed using UNDP’s Human Development Index methodology which comprises six components for holistic assessment of the quality of government budgets.

Why need such an index?

  • A single criterion such as the ‘fiscal deficit to GDP ratio’ does not tell us anything about the quality of the Budget.
  • Hence, the Government should use multiple indicators to measure the quality of Budgets at the Central and the State levels rather than a single indicator.

Components of FPI

  1. Quality of revenue expenditure: measured by the share of revenue expenditure other than interest payments, subsidies, pensions and defence in GDP
  2. Quality of capital expenditure: measured by share of capital expenditure (other than defence) in GDP
  3. Quality of revenue: ratio of net tax revenue to GDP (own tax revenue in case of States)
  4. Degree of fiscal prudence I: fiscal deficit to GDP
  5. Degree of fiscal prudence II: revenue deficit to GDP and
  6. Debt index: Change in debt and guarantees to GDP

Other measures of FPI

  • As per the new index, expenditure on infrastructure, education, healthcare and other social sectors can be considered beneficial for economic growth.
  • At the same time, tax revenues are sustainable sources of revenue for the government as compared to one-time income sources.
Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) data for 2017-18

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CWS and Usual Method

Mains level : Unemployment in India



News

  • The govt has finally released Annual Report of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2017-18 and the Quarterly Bulletin PLFS.

Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS)

  • The PLFS was launched from 1st April 2017.
  • Primary aim of the PLFS is to generate reasonably accurate indicators of labour market at a short span for every quarter for which speed of quality data collection and processing are important.
  • PLFS was launched with the objective of measuring employment every three months in urban areas and once a year in both rural and urban areas.
  • The quarterly survey only captures data classed as current weekly status (CWS), while the annual survey measures both the usual status and CWS.
  • The NSSO was historically conducting Employment and Unemployment Surveys as part of its National Sample Surveys.

Who are the Unemployed?

  • Labour force means people working or looking for jobs in the age group of 15-29 years.
  • CWS Method: A person who is unable to get work for even an hour in the last seven days despite seeking employment is considered unemployed.
  • Usual Status Method: Under this, the employment activity of a person is determined on the basis of a reference period of 365 days preceding the date of the survey.

Trends

  • Labour force participation has been declining and touched 36.9% in 2017-18 as more among them, especially females, enrolled for higher studies.
  • The youth accounted for 28.2% of urban males and 27.8% of urban females.
  • During 2017-18, among people aged 15-29 years, the share of the educated was 65.8% among urban males. It was 65.4% among urban females.
  • A higher percentage of males compared to females had received either formal or non-formal vocational training.

Reality of jobless growth

  • The rising unemployment rate despite falling labour force participation for the youth is more worrying.
  • This is likely to raise questions about whether India is suffering from jobless growth.
  • According to Census 2011, India has 333 million youth—a number that is likely to touch 367 million in 2021 and 370 million by 2031.
  • With this huge rise in youth unemployment, it is hard to reconcile this information with the EPFO data that people keep talking about, because a majority of the new entrants to EPFO would be the younger people.

Govt plans to merge CSO, NSSO

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CSO, NSSO

Mains level : Merger of the two and its impact


News

  • To streamline and strengthen the statistical system, the government has decided to merge the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) and the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) to form a National Statistical Office (NSO).
  • While the NSSO comes out with various sample surveys such as on consumption expenditure, employment and unemployment, the CSO releases various data such as GDP and IIP.

Merging NSSO and CSO into NSO

  • The move is a follow-up of a decision taken in 2005 by the UPA government’s based on recommendations of the report of the National Statistical Commission, headed by former RBI governor C Rangarajan.
  • Both the wings are currently part of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).

Rangarajan committee recommendations

  • The Rangarajan committee had recommended setting up of the NSC, headed by a person with a Minister of State-level designation, to serve as a nodal and empowered body for all core statistical activities of the country.
  • The NSC was constituted on July 12, 2006 with a mandate to evolve policies, priorities and standards in statistical matters.
  • According to the Commission, the new NSO was envisaged as an agency to implement and maintain statistical standards and coordinate statistical activities of Central and State agencies as laid down by the NCS.
  • The NSO’s other roles included collection of core statistics, carrying out methodological research and studies, maintaining a warehouse of core statistics, as per the Commission report.

Benefits of the merger

  • This is a measure to avoid duplication of work and leverage the strength of the statistical system.
  • There is no dilution of independence and in fact strengthens the system.
  • This will help in meeting the requirement of the statistical system as a lack of control on these two bodies was one challenge presently.

National Statistical Office (NSO)

  • The Statistical Wing, comprising the NSO with constituents as the CSO and the NSSO, to be an integral part of the main ministry.
  • The NSO would be headed by Secretary Statistics and Programme Implementation, with various divisions reporting to the Secretary through Director Generals (DGs).
  • Presently the CSO is headed by a DG brings out macro economic data like economic (GDP) growth data, industrial production and inflation.
  • While the NSSO conducts large-scale surveys and brings out reports on health, education, household expenditure and other social and economic indicators.

Data Quality Assurance Division

  • A Data Quality Assurance Division has also been set up, replacing the Data Processing Division, which will have the responsibility to bring about improvements in survey and administrative databases.
  • This division will be strengthened through “re-skilling and deployment of existing personnel”.

In recent controversy!

  • India’s official statistics came under a cloud after several experts raised questions on credibility of the new GDP series.
  • The government’s move to withhold the first periodic labour force survey, which showed unemployment rate at a 45-year high, put a further dent.

Assist this newscard with:

https://thewire.in/government/nsso-cso-merger-what-will-the-centralisation-of-indian-statistics-bring-with-it

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

National Institute of Nutrition

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NIN

Mains level : NIN and its mandate



News

  • The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) has said that it stands by its findings certifying mid-day meals without onion and garlic provided by the Akshaya Patra Foundation (APF) in Karnataka schools as compliant with nutritional norms laid down by the State government.

Issue over NIN decision

  • APF provides food under the government’s mid-day meals programme at 2,814 schools in the State.
  • Absence of onion and garlic from meals made the food unpalatable and resulted in children consuming less quantity of food.
  • The issue is not just about absorption of nutrients, but is also about the food not being as per local tastes.
  • The most important question that authorities are glossing over is why not provide onion and garlic, which are available all round the year and are cheaper than other ingredients.

About NIN

  • The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) is an Indian Public health, Nutrition and Translational research center located in Hyderabad.
  • The institute is one of the oldest research centers in India, and the largest center, under the Indian Council of Medical Research, located in the vicinity of Osmania University.
  • It was founded by Sir Robert McCarrison in the year 1918 as ‘Beri-Beri’ Enquiry Unit in a single room laboratory at the Pasteur Institute, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu.
  • Within a short span of seven years, this unit blossomed into a “Deficiency Disease Enquiry” and later in 1928, emerged as full-fledged “Nutrition Research Laboratories” (NRL) with Dr. McCarrison as its first Director.
  • It was later shifted to Hyderabad in 1958.
  • At the time of its golden jubilee in 1969, it was renamed as National Institute of Nutrition (NIN).

Mandate of NIN

  • Periodic Assessment of Nutrient intakes, Health and Nutrition status of the population for optimal health, and assist the Government and regulatory bodies in policy making
  • Establishment of Dietary Reference Intake values, Recommended Dietary allowances, Dietary guidelines for Indian population; and assessment of Nutrient Composition of Foods
  • Identify various nutrition deficiency disorders prevalent among different segments of the population
  • Conduct operational research for planning and implementation of National Nutrition Programmes in the country
  • Conduct surveys and study the risk factors of NCDs through multidisciplinary research
  • Conduct innovative basic science Research on nutrient interactions, requirements, responses etc
  • Identify and study food and environmental safety challenges for providing scientific input for policy and regulation
  • Development of human resource in nutrition and also provide evidence-based nutrition knowledge to the community
Disasters and Disaster Management – Sendai Framework, Floods, Cyclones, etc.

The Face of Disasters 2019 Report

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : The Face of Disasters 2019 Report

Mains level : Multiple facets of Disasters in India and thier effective management


News

  • The Face of Disasters 2019 report was recently published by Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS).

The Face of Disasters 2019 Report

  • The ‘Face of Disasters 2019’ report released by SEEDS as part of its 25th anniversary, analyses past trends, looking at disasters from a broader perspective to capture their varied facets.
  • The report talks about the need to look at disaster vulnerabilities that lie under the radar, waiting to strike.
  • Eight key areas have emerged that will be critical to consider as we look ahead:
  1. Water and the changing nature of disaster risk: A ‘new normal’ of rainfall variability is bringing challenges of too much and too little water, often in parallel.
  2. No disaster is ‘natural’: Risks lurking under the radar slip through the cracks because they don’t meet the idea of a ‘natural disaster’.
  3. The silent events: The disasters that go unseen leave those affected at even greater risk.
  4. Land becomes water (and water becomes land): Changes to the coastline are already affecting livelihood sources and will be hotspots for vulnerability in the future.
  5. The complexity of disaster impact: Beyond official ‘damages’, the long-term and uncaptured disaster impacts have life-changing consequences for affected communities.
  6. The urban imperative: Risk is rapidly urbanising and will affect everyone.
  7. Transformations in the third pole: Himalayan glaciers are melting, with serious implications for the whole region.
  8. Planning for what you can’t see: Earthquake risk is looming large under the radar, but are we prepared?

Significance of the report

  • Analysis of past trends shows us that 2019 will see unusual flooding, as well as heatwaves and drought that are already ongoing.
  • The complexity of disasters today requires a proactive and multi-pronged approach.
  • A single mega-disaster can wipe out hard-won development gains and recurrent small-scale stresses keep vulnerable families in a cycle of poverty.
  • While this multiple event pattern is repeated every year, only a few really capture the public attention. Other risks continue to intensify under the radar.

Way Forward

  • Current trends are reinforcing that disasters have multiple facets and complexities.
  • In 2018, India witnessed nearly every type of natural hazard, except a major earthquake and related events.
  • Floods, droughts, heat and cold waves, lightning strikes, cyclones and even hailstorms, a wide range of disasters impacted most of the country.
  • This poses some critical questions and issues and also points to risks that lie ahead. At the core is the idea that disasters cannot be seen in isolation anymore.
  • There is a clear need for comprehensive understanding of risks, and hyper-localised plans and allocation of resources to reduce them.

Back2Basics

Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS)

  • SEEDS, a non profit voluntary organization, is a collective endeavor of young professionals drawn from development related fields.
  • It originated as an informal group of likeminded persons, getting together for the purpose of creative research projects of academic interest.
  • The group was later formalized in early 1994 and has been active in the field ever since.
  • It is involved in research activities in Community Development, Disaster Management, Environmental Planning, Transport Planning, and Urban and Regional Planning.
  • Activities are carried out on behalf of government, semi – government and international development agencies. Independent programs on vital issues are also taken up.
Electoral Reforms In India

Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) Survey

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: ADR

Mains level: Decriminalization of politics in India


News

  • A nationwide survey involving more than 2.7 lakh people revealed that for 41.34% respondents, distribution of liquor, cash and freebies was an important factor behind voting for a particular candidate in an election, according to the ADR.

ADR survey of India

  • This is the third all-India survey commissioned by the ADR.
  • 86% interviewees felt that candidates with criminal background should not be in Parliament or State Assembly.
  • 89% were willing to vote for a candidate with criminal records if the candidate had done good work in the past.

Evaluating Govt. Performance

  • The respondents rated the government’s performance on 31 listed issues as below average.
  • On a scale of one to five, the respondents gave an average of 2.58 for better public transport, followed by 2.53 on the issue of electricity for domestic use and 2.52 for drinking water.
  • The government’s performance on initiatives against river and lake water pollution was rated as 2.51; 2.48 for empowerment of women and security; just 1.37 on eradication of corruption; and 1.15 on the issue of terrorism.

Priorities of Voters

  • As per the survey, better employment opportunities (46.80%), better healthcare (34.60%) and drinking water (30.50%) were the top three priorities, followed by better roads (28.34%) and better public transport (27.35%).
  • Statewise, better healthcare was the highest priority in Assam (45.78%), Kerala (45.24%) and Rajasthan (43.13%) and drinking water was the most important factor for the respondents in Karnataka (50.42%), Andhra Pradesh (45.25%) and Kerala (44.77%).

About Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)

  • The ADR is a non-partisan, non-governmental organization which works in the area of electoral and political reforms.
  • ADR aims at bringing transparency and accountability in Indian politics and reducing the influence of money and muscle power in elections.
  • National Election Watch (NEW) is a conglomeration of over 1200 organizations across the country.
  • ADR has become the single data point for information/analysis of background details (criminal, financial and others) of politicians and of financial information of political parties.
  • ADR has chosen to concentrate its efforts in the following areas pertaining to the political system of the country:
  1. Corruption and Criminalization in the Political Process
  2. Empowerment of the electorate through greater dissemination of information relating to the candidates and the parties, for a better and informed choice
  3. Need for greater accountability of Indian Political Parties
  4. Need for inner-party democracy and transparency in party-functioning
Financial Inclusion in India and Its Challenges

Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC)

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Mobilization of resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Everything about FSDC

Mains level: Mandate of the FSDC


News

  • The Sub-Committee of the FSDC has discussed ways to address challenges pertaining to the quality of credit ratings in the wake of the IL&FS defaults crisis.

Against faulty Credit Rating

  • Credit rating firms, currently regulated by the SEBI had come under sharp criticism from the RBI recently for failing to identify financial troubles in various companies, especially in the case of IL&FS, which commanded AAA rating just before it started defaulting.
  • RBI officials had expressed concerns over the inability of rating agencies’ to assess credit risk and take timely rating actions.

About  FSDC

  1. FSDC is an apex-level body constituted by the Government of India to create a super regulatory body as mooted by the Raghuram Rajan Committee in 2008.
  2. Finally in 2010, the then Finance Minister of India, Pranab Mukherjee, decided to set up such an autonomous body dealing with macro prudential and financial regularities in the entire financial sector of India.
  3. An apex-level FSDC is not a statutory body. No funds are separately allocated to the council for undertaking its activities.

Composition

  1. Chairperson: The Union Finance Minister of India
  2. Members:
  • Governor Reserve Bank of India (RBl),
  • Finance Secretary and/ or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA),
  • Secretary, Department of Financial Services (DFS),
  • Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs,
  • Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance.
  1. Other members include chairman of SEBI, IRDA, PFRDA and IBBI

Responsibilities

  • Financial Stability
  • Financial Sector Development
  • Inter-Regulatory Coordination
  • Financial Literacy
  • Financial Inclusion
  • Macro prudential supervision of the economy including the functioning of large financial conglomerates
  • Coordinating India’s international interface with financial sector bodies like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Financial Stability Board (FSB) and any such body as may be decided by the Finance Minister from time to time.
Microfinance Story of India

Labour Bureau files MUDRA job report

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: PMMY

Mains level: Problem of Unemployment


News

  • The Labour Bureau has completed its survey on employment generated by the MUDRA loan scheme, giving the Centre a potential data tool to combat other reports showing a dismal scenario on jobs.

About MUDRA Scheme

  1. The Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana was introduced in April 2015 as an effort to extend affordable credit to micro and small enterprises.
  2. Loans up to Rs. 10 lakh are extended to these non-corporate, non-farm enterprises by the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) through last-mile financial institutions.
  3. So far, 15.56 crore loans worth a total of Rs. 7.23 lakh crore have been disbursed.
  4. In December 2017, faced with mounting criticism on the failure to create job opportunities, the Labour Ministry had asked the Labour Bureau to initiate the survey on jobs created through the MUDRA scheme.

NSSO survey

  1. The NSSO’s findings showed that unemployment hit a 45-year high of 6.1% in 2017-18.
  2. Central government ministers and officials have already attempted to use the MUDRA scheme’s performance to combat criticism based on the leaked NSSO job survey report.
  3. Some economists have advised caution in the interpretation of MUDRA data, especially as it relates to jobs.

Loan disbursal doesn’t ensure Job

  1. Every new loan certainly doesn’t imply creation of a new job.
  2. It is improbable that these loans are being given to those who were formerly unemployed.
  3. They are more likely being given to people who are moving to self employment from other jobs resulting in no new net job creation.
  4. Given that the average size of the loan disbursed under MUDRA is quite small, it is unlikely that the loan seekers are providing a job to anyone other than themselves.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

[pib] National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India

Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India

Mains level:  Menace of narcotic drugs in India


News

  • An addiction plague has steadily swallowed India a/c to a study conducted by the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
  • The study, named “National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India” is a first of its kind as it gives pan-India and state-level data.

National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in India

  1. The survey report, which was submitted to the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on noted that 5.7 crore people in the country suffered from alcohol related problems.
  2. The survey spanned all the 36 states and UTs of India and citizens between the ages of 10 to 75 responded to the questions set in the study regarding substance abuse.
  3. The intoxicant categories that were studied are as follows: alcohol, cannabis (bhang and ganja/charas), opioids (opium, heroin and pharmaceutical opioids), cocaine, amphetamine type stimulants (ATS), sedatives, inhalants and hallucinogens.

Magnitude of Substance use in India

I. Alcohol

  1. Of the 16 crore people who consumed alcohol across the country, prevalence of alcohol consumption was 17 times higher among men than among women.
  2. More than four lakh children and 1.8 million adults needed help for inhalant abuse and dependence.
  3. The male to female ratio of alcohol users in India is 17:1 and most men consume either ‘desi’ liquor (30 per cent) or Indian Made Foreign Liquor (30 per cent).
  4. A total of 5.2 per cent of the population indulge in harmful alcohol use, means that every third drinker in the country is in dire need of medical help in curing his/her addiction.

II. Cannabis (Bhang, Ganja & Charas)

  1. According to the survey, over 3.1 crore Indians (2.8%) reported to have used any cannabis product in last one year.
  2. Although, the usage of Bhang use is more common than Ganja or Charas but in case of addiction, the number of dependent users is higher for addicts of Ganja and Charas.
  3. Cannabis consumption is higher than the national average in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Sikkim, Chhattisgarh and Delhi.
  4. In Punjab and Sikkim, the prevalence of cannabis use disorders is considerably higher (more than thrice) than the national average.

III. Heroin, Opium & others

  1. At the national level, Heroin is most commonly used substance followed by pharmaceutical opioids, followed by opium (Afeem).
  2. However, in case of harmful dependence, more people are dependent on Heroin than other similar drugs like Afeem.
  3. Of the total 60 lakh users of Heroin and Afeem, majority of them are from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

IV. Sedatives and inhalants

  1. Less than 1% or nearly 1.18 crore people use sedatives, non medical or non prescription use. However, what is more worrying that its prevalence is high among children and adolescents.
  2. At national level, there are 4.6 lakh children that need help against the harmful or dependence over inhalants.
  3. This problem of addiction of children is more prevalent in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi and Haryana.
  4. Cocaine (0.10%) Amphetamine Type Stimulants (0.18%) and Hallucinogens (0.12%) are the categories with lowest prevalence of current use in the country.

V. Addicts who inject drugs

  1. According to the survey, there are 8.5 lakh people in the country who inject drugs (PWID).
  2. Users of opium based drugs report high incidence of injecting drugs (heroin 46% and pharmaceutical opioids 46%), a large number of these drug users report risky injecting practices.
  3. This risky practice more prevalent in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur and Nagaland
Air Pollution

Methanol-blending in petrol reduces carbon dioxide emission: ARAI study

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: Controlling vehicular pollution


News

Govt to support research on methanol blending

  1. Methanol (M-15) blended with petrol and used in the existing BS-IV standard cars reduces carbon dioxide emission, a study conducted by Pune-based group.
  2. M-15 is a mixture of 15% Methanol with Gasoline.
  3. According to the ARAI, the study evaluated emissions in real-world conditions and used 15 per cent M-15 blend in vehicles and tested them for 3,000 km.
  4. The finding has been submitted Transport Ministry to support further research on methanol blending as the government aims to increase fuel blending to 20 per cent by 2030.

Why such move?

  1. India imports ₹7 lakh crore worth of crude oil every year.
  2. Using alternative fuels, we can divert ₹2 lakh crore for farmers to boost agriculture.

Fuel replacement plan and its benefits

  1. Adopting methanol in this scale would bring down pollution in the country by more than 40 per cent.
  2. By adopting methanol, India can have its own indigenous fuel at the cost of approximately ₹19 per litre, at least 30 per cent cheaper than any available fuel.
  3. According to NITI Aayog, at least 20 per cent diesel consumption can be reduced in the next 5-7 years and will result in a savings of ₹26,000 crore annually.
  4. Also, ₹6,000 crore can be saved annually from reduced bill in LPG in the next three years itself.
  5. Methanol blending with petrol will further reduce the fuel bill by at least ₹5,000 crore annually in the next three years.