Modi’s Visit to China

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Wuhan, a central Chinese city, to hold an ‘informal summit’ with President of People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping on 27-28 April 2018. The two leaders exchanged views on a range of issues of bilateral and global importance and reviewed the developments in the India-China relations from a strategic and long-term perspective.

The informal meetings in Wuhan were interspersed between a visit to the Hubei Provincial Museum, a walk around the East Lake, a musical event and a ‘chai par charcha’. The talks were held a few months after the nearly 75-day Doklam dispute in 2017had rekindled fears of war between the two Asian nations.

The summit was stated to be unique as neither leader had any pressure or obligation to strike any major breakthroughs. Though no agreements were signed at the end of the meetings, both leaders agreed their two countries had the maturity and wisdom to handle all their differences peacefully through talks. Other highlights are as follows:

Security issues

On the issue of the India-China boundary question, the two leaders endorsed the work of the special representatives in their efforts to find a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement, and also underscored that in the meantime it is important to maintain peace and tranquillity in all areas of the India-China border region. They decided to issue ‘strategic guidance’ to their militaries to strengthen communications to build trust and understanding. The two leaders also recognized the common threat posed by terrorism both reiterated their strong condemnation of a resolute opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Both committed to cooperate further in counter-terrorism.

Foreign policy

Mr. Xi pointed out the development of China and India is the ‘trend of the times’ and an important opportunity for each other and both China and India should pursue an independent foreign policy.

The Indian prime minister also floated his own five-point (Panchsheel) agenda for the bilateral relationship that, he said, will be dependent on shared vision, better communication, strong relationship, shared the thought process and shared resolve. This path, he said, will bring global peace, stability, and prosperity.

Economic Ties

There was a focus on giving impetus to economic ties. The two leaders underscored the importance of reform of multilateral financial and political institutions to make them representative and responsive to the needs of developing nations.Mr. Modi pointed out that for 1,600 years, India and China had led global economy. He also stressed on other areas of convergence, such as the dovetailing of ‘New India’ and ‘New Era with Chinese characteristics’. According to him, if both countries work towards this joint vision, then it would benefit the entire world and cement Sino-Indian global leadership status. The two leaders agreed to undertake a joint India-China economic project in Afghanistan.

People-to-people ties

Mr. Modi pointed out both nations represent 40 percent of the global population. Improving their lot would automatically have a positive global effect. There were discussions on agriculture, technology, and promoting cultural, people-to-people relations and creating an open, multipolar and pluralistic society.  Proposals included moving ahead on spirituality and holistic health, terms on building ties in films, promoting sports between the two countries and strengthening tourism on the Buddhist circuit.

The visit concluded with Mr. Modi seeking to make the informal summit an annual affair and inviting Xi for the next chapter in India. 

Comments

Media from both countries welcomed the informal summit, commenting that “two great countries ought to have great cooperation”. Analysts agree that the Wuhan meeting will increase mutual trust, manage and control disputes, deepen cooperation and lead to a new phase in China-India relations. They point out that strategic agreement between the two countries far exceeds the specific differences, and the need for cooperation far exceeds local friction.

It was evident that Mr. Modi used the summit to not only normalize relationship after the Doklamsetback but also lay the roadmap for global leadership based on the convergence of aims and goals. Through the summit, both sides have chosen the need to put aside their differences in a scenario when belligerence is only going to hurt the two nations.  Though the Chinese economy is five times that of India, China realizes it needs India’s support to resist US’ attempts to further economic protectionism and a trade war. India, too, understands the need for a tension-free relationship with China so as to tackle regional issues with other neighbors as well as in its north-eastern regions.

However, the meeting is just the beginning in the process, and nowhere an end to now long-held differences. India and China have had a long history of mutual suspicion and this has kept the two countries from working together. There are disputes over stretches of a 3,500 km border, conflicts over economic and strategic interests in the region, and disagreements over China’s signature Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. While India is also vary of China’s traditionally close ties with Pakistan, China is concerned about the US efforts to draw India into a maritime “quad” of democracies, including Japan and Australia. Another bone of contention between the two countries is the issue of Tibet. China is unhappy about India’s hosting the Dalai Lama and other exiled Tibetans. Both countries have a long way to go to address each other’s fears.

International Organisations,Conferences and Treaties

 

 

 

Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan

The Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan is being organized from 14th April to 5th May 2018.

As a special attempt during the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, eligible households/persons would be made under 7  flagship pro-poor programmes i.e. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Saubhagya, Ujala scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Mission Indradhanush.in more than twenty thousands identified villages.

It will strengthen the Panchayati Raj system across the country and address critical gaps that constrain its success

Increase capacities and effectiveness of Panchayats and the Gram Sabhas;

Enable democratic decision-making and accountability in Panchayats and promote people’s participation;;

Form and strengthen democratic local self-government in areas where Panchayats do not exist;

Reinforce the constitutionally mandated framework on which Panchayats are founded.

 


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SHISHU SWAGAT KENDRA- PALNA

  • In Uttar Pradesh, an order was issued by the state government on 18th April 2018 to ensure the setup of PALNA Centers at medical colleges, district, and sub-district hospitals to save new-borns abandoned by their parents.
  • There will be the arrangement of proper treatment of infants. The cradles will be fitted with a bell by which the staff can be alerted to the arrival of the child.
  • After that, the baby can be taken to the local child welfare committee and screened further to evaluate if it is fit for adoption.
  • This scheme will also help bridge the gap between the number of children available for adoption and the burgeoning list of adoptive parents.
  • This will help in tackling the problem of abandoning the infant at the roadside.

 

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Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill,2018

In March 2018, the union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the proposal of the Ministry of Finance to introduce the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 in Parliament.

The aim of the bill is to deter economic offenders who leave the country to avoid the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.

The fleeing of such offenders from India hampers investigation in criminal cases, undermines the rule of law in India and worsens the financial health of banks as most such cases of economic offences involve non-repayment of bank loans. The idea is to overcome shortcomings in existing laws and provide a fresh legal framework that would make it possible to confiscate the property of those who flee the country or refuse to come back to evade prosecution.

The law covers offences which have a value of Rs 100 crore or more.

A ‘fugitive economic offender’, according to the proposed law, is “any individual against whom a warrant for arrest in relation to a scheduled offence has been issued by any court in India, who (i) leaves or has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution; or (ii) refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.”

For a person to be declared a fugitive economic offender, a director, appointed by the central government, will have to file an application to a special court (set up under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002) to that effect. As per the proposed law, the application must state the reason/s for the belief that an individual is a fugitive economic offender; give any information available as to the whereabouts of the fugitive economic offender; list the properties or the value of such properties believed to be the proceeds of crime, including any such property outside India for which confiscation is sought; list the properties owned by the person in India (which includes benami) for which confiscation is sought; give a list of persons who may have an interest in any of the properties listed under the previous two sub-clauses.

A notice will then be issued by the court to the person named a ‘fugitive economic offender’. The person is required to present himself/herself, within six weeks from the date of the notice, at “a specified place at a specified time”. If the offender fails to do so, he/she will be declared a ‘fugitive economic offender’; in that event, their properties as listed in the application by the director can be confiscated.

If, in the course of the proceedings before the declaration of the person as fugitive economic offender, however, the person concerned returns to India and submits to the appropriate jurisdictional court, proceedings under the proposed Act would cease by law. There are provisions of necessary constitutional safeguards in terms of providing a hearing to the person through counsel, allowing him/her time to file a reply, serving notice of summons to him/her, whether in India or abroad and appeal to the High Court.

The director will have the power to attach any property the accused holds.

An administrator will be appointed by the special court to oversee the confiscated property; the administrator will also be responsible for disposing the property. The property will be used to satisfy the claims of the creditors.

The property will remain attached for 180 days. There is a provision for appeal against an order of confiscation.

The proposed law does not allow those declared as offenders from either filing or defending a civil claim in court.

(Economic offences have been defined under various laws: the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act, the SEBI Act, the Customs Act, the Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnership Act, and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.)

Comments

In recent times there have been glaring instances of the very rich defaulters/fraudsters enjoying themselves in foreign lands after having managed to dupe Indian banks and innocent clients besides the judiciary. In this context, especially when the ordinary citizen feels a growing resentment against a system that apparently allows the rich to ‘escape’ the consequences of their actions with impunity, the proposed law seems welcome; it tries to overcome some of the shortcomings of existing laws on confiscating offenders’ assets. At present, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act allows the Enforcement Directorate to provisionally attach property acquired from the proceeds of crime, but the ED gets full right only after conviction. The process usually takes a long time.

The bill is expected to impel fugitive economic offenders to return to India to face trial for scheduled offences. The bill would enable the banks and other financial institutions to achieve higher recovery from financial defaults committed by such fugitive economic offenders. However, doubts have been raised over the efficacy of the law: will the threat of confiscation of property be enough to prevent the offenders from fleeing or to make them return? How easy will it be easy to dispose of the confiscated property and at prices that would meet the dues of creditors? Furthermore, as the proposed law is not limited to confiscation of the proceeds of crime and goes beyond to include any asset that the offender has – including benami property – there may be issues of actual ownership, and litigation would arise.

There is also a question as to whether the confiscated property will be bought by anybody so that the amount can be realised.

Questions of legal rights may also be raised in the matter of confiscation of property. Of course, the UN Convention against Corruption that India ratified in 2011 allows domestic laws for confiscation of property of offenders without criminal conviction, and the government cites this convention for delinking the forfeiture provision from criminal conviction. In the Budget 2017-18 it was announced that the government was considering legislative changes or even a new law to confiscate the assets of such absconders till they submit to the jurisdiction of the appropriate legal forum.

Analysts have also pointed out that the blanket ban on pursuing or defending any civil claim under the law goes against the basic tenets of justice and fair play, and violates principles of the Indian Constitution.

 


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The Cauvery Dispute: Supreme Court Verdict

Cauvery Dispute

Supreme Court special bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Amitava Roy delivered its verdict on the Cauvery water dispute on February 16, 2018.

The sharing of the waters has been a matter of dispute among the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala and the union territory of Puducherry.

A Dispute with Long Roots

The total availability of water for utilisation in the Cauvery basin is 740 thousand million cubic feet (tmc) in a normal year. Originating in Talacauvery in Kodagu in Karnataka, the river flows through Hassan, Mandya, and Mysuru districts before entering in the form of a waterfall at Hogenakkal in Dharmapuri, in Tamil Nadu to go through Erode, Karur, Tiruchirapalli, Cuddalore, Pudukottai, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur and other districts till it enters the Bay of Bengal at Puhar.

The dispute over the river waters goes back a long way to pre-independence days.Its origins date back to agreements signed in 1892 and 1924 between the then princely state of Mysore and the Madras Presidency.

The state of Mysore declared that it wanted to restore old irrigation works in its territory as well as build new works to be of use in other areas; these works were to be constructed on the rivers that originated and passed through their state. Madras feared that such constructions by the state of Mysore would lead to a reduction in the water flowing into Madras Presidency area. So Madras wanted the Government of India to adjudicate. So came about the agreement between Mysore and Madras into on February 18, 1892, under the title. ‘Rules defining the limits within which no new irrigation works are to be constructed by the Mysore State without previous reference to the Madras Government’.

Under the 1892 agreement, Mysore state (now practically synonymous with the state of Karnataka) was to get consent from Madras Presidency (which included present Tamil Nadu and Kerala)before any construction, including any new irrigation reservoirs, was proposed across the 15 main rivers and stream mentioned in specific schedules. Furthermore, before any such project was begun, information regarding the project had to be furnished in complete form to Madras for getting its consent. Madras could not refuse consent except for two circumstances: (i) if Mysore had failed to furnish full information on the proposed project; and (ii) if in granting consent, Madras would deprive its inhabitants of certain rights already acquired and existing in accordance with the law on the subject to use water of an interstate river.

In 1910, Mysore, under the rule of Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, a plan to construct a dam, namely the Krishnarajasagar Dam, at Kannambadi village was envisaged. In the first stage, the dam was to have a capacity of 11 TMC, later to be expanded. Madras refused to give its consent for this proposed project as it had its own plans to build a storage dam at Mettur. On a reference being made to the Government of India, Mysore received the permission for the project but only with a capacity of 11 TMC storage. But as the foundation when laid for the dam was for the larger capacity, Madras was angered and arbitration was ordered by the Government of India in the dispute.

After years of negotiations, an agreement was arrived at in 1924. The agreement gave the Madras Presidency as well as Mysore State the rights to use the surplus waters of the Cauvery. Mysore would build its dam and Madras would also build the Mettur dam.Mysore was free to carry out future extensions of irrigation within its state under the Cauvery and its tributaries to an extent now fixed at 110,000 acres. Madras agreed to limit the new area of irrigation under the Mettur Dam project to 301,000 acres. The 1924 pact was to last for 50 years.

Dispute Intensifies Post-Independence

In 1974, the accord lapsed. After independence, the states had been reorganised. Talacauvery in Kodagu  became a part of Mysore state, later Karnataka. Parts of Malabar which earlier formed part of Madras Presidency became part of the new state of Kerala. Puducherry had already become a de facto union territory in 1954. With state boundaries being redrawn, parts of Kerala and Puducherry were drawn into the Cauvery basin and therefore become stakeholders in the sharing of its waters. An important tributary of the Cauvery, the Kabini, now originated in the Western Ghats in Kerala. The Karaikal region of Puducherry claimed that it had always been using the waters of the river for drinking and some agriculture. So Kerala and Puducherry also became stakeholders in the dispute over the Cauvery waters.

In the meanwhile, Tamil Nadu had expanded its irrigation going against the letter and spirit of the 1924 agreement. By 1971, its acreage had increased to nearly 3 million. Karnataka had brought into use more than 6,50,000 acres. Both states had violated the1924 agreement.

Karnataka now declared that the 1924 agreement hindered its ability to develop farming activities along the Cauvery basin. It began building reservoirs. Karnataka’s argument was that, with the 1924 agreement having lapsed, the state was under no obligation to follow the regulations. Karnataka took the view that since the river originated in the state it had a greater rights over the river waters. Such a view was a problem for Tamil Nadu which had become dependent on Cauvery water for the cultivation of crops in the delta area. Karnataka built the Hemavati, Harangi, Kabini and Suvarnavathy dams on the Cauvery, causing much unease to Tamil Nadu, the lower riparian state.

Karnataka argued that the river waters should be shared as per international norms, i.e., by dividing the waters in equal proportions. It suggested that the two states could get 47 per cent of the water each with the rest being distributed equally to Kerala and Puducherry.Tamil Nadu preferred to continue with the 1924 agreement (which gave the state 75 per cent share). In 1986, the farmer’s association in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur area moved the Supreme Court on the issue, appealing for a tribunal to be set up to solve the problem of sharing the waters of the Cauvery..

In 1990, the Supreme Court heard the petitions from both the states and directed them to negotiate. But negotiations failed. In the circumstances, the apex court directed the central government to form a tribunal to decide on the distribution of Cauvery waters between the states.

Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal

Following the Supreme Court order, the Centre constituted the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) in June1990. In an interim order in 1991, the tribunal gave Tamil Nadu 205 tmc.

The CWDT gave its final award in February 2007. Of the total available 740 tmc water, Tamil Nadu was to get 419 tmc; Karnataka, 270 tmc; Kerala, 30 tmc; and Puducherry, 7 tmc.

In a normal year, the CWDT ordered that Karnataka has to release to Tamil Nadu 192 tmc (as against 205 tmc in the interim award) on a monthly basis at the inter-state border, Billingundlu.

Besides this, the tribunal reserved 10 tmc for environmental purposes and four tmc for natural outlets into the sea.

In a distress year, as per the CWDT order, the allocated shares shall be proportionately reduced among Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The order regarding the sharing of water during a distress year shows a lack of clarity and became a major reason for the dispute.

The CWDT also stated that “the agreements which were executed between the then governments of Mysore and Madras cannot be held to be invalid, especially after a lapse of about more than 110 and 80 years respectively.” It further said: “Before the execution of the two agreements, there was full consultation between the then governments of Madras and Mysore. However, the agreement of 1924 provides for review of some of the clauses after 1974. Accordingly, we have reviewed and re-examined various provisions of the agreement on the principles of just and equitable apportionment.”

The Centre notified the award only in 2013, after the Supreme Court ordered it do so.

The award of the tribunal did not satisfy the states. Before the 2007 order, Tamil Nadu had asked for 562 tmc – roughly three-fourths of the water available in the Cauvery basin – and Karnataka had asked for 465 tmc – around two-thirds of the available water.Karnataka and Tamil Nadu filed petitions in the Supreme Court against the final order of the CWDT. Kerala followed suit.

Supreme Court Verdict

The Supreme Court on the whole upheld the decisions of the CWDT. However, it conceded that Karnataka is entitled to “marginal” relief, and reduced the allocation of Cauvery water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu.

Karnataka has been ordered to release 177.25 tmc of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from its inter-state Biligundlu dam.Karnataka will get an enhanced 14.75 tmc water which will be above the CWDT award of 270 tmc Cauvery water.

Tamil Nadu is now entitled to a total of 404.25 tmc of Cauvery water instead of 419 tmc allotted by the tribunal in 2007.

Tamil Nadu has been allowed to draw an additional 10 tmc ‘groundwater’ from a total of 20 tmc beneath the Cauvery river basin.The CWDT had said that the use of underground water by any of the riparian states should not be reckoned as use of Cauvery water. The apex court, however, took into account the quantity of available groundwater while calculating the final determination of the share.The court held that it would take into account at 10 tmc of this ground water and reduce this amount from the 192 tmc supplied by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu.

The CWDT award of 30 tmc of Cauvery water to Kerala and 7 tmcft to Puducherry will remain unchanged. The apex court, however, allowed Puducherry’s request to grow a second crop with the stipulation that cultivation be limited to 43,000 acres.

The Supreme Court said that, subject to the formulation of a scheme, its order on the Cauvery water allocation will continue for the next 15 years.

Observing that Bengaluru has attained a global status’ and that its drinking water requirement has increased multi-fold, the court said that the need of drinking water should get top priority. The court said that the CWDT had not considered the growing needs of Bengaluru and had thought the city could manage on its 60 percent groundwater supply. But the growing population has depleted the groundwater. Taking this into consideration, the court allocated 4.75 tmcCauvery water to Bengaluru. The court disagreed with the idea of taking into consideration only one-third of the city that falls within the Cauvery basin, saying “principles of apportionment and the conception of reasonable and equitable share perceived for such uses comprehend a basin State addressing the social and economic needs of its community as a whole”.

The SupremeCourt warned that the states should not deviate from the judgment or use the allotted water for other than the designated purposes.

The court held that the CWDT was correct in basing its water-sharing award on the basis of equitable utilisation of river water. The court said that Constitution has bestowed equal status to all states. Holding that an interstate river is a “national asset”, it said that no one state can claim full rights over river waters just because the river originated there. The apex court thereby reaffirmed the internationally recognised rights of lower riparian states.

Karnataka had told the Supreme Court that 1924 agreement between the then British province of Madras and the princely State of Mysore could not be the basis of sharing Cauvery river water between the present day Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and present-day needs must be taken into account.The court disagreed with Karnataka’s argument that it had no bargaining power in the 1892 and 1924 post-Mettur dam agreements on Cauvery water allocation. The court asked Karnataka why it had not denounced the 1892 and 1924 agreements even after independence and the coming into existence of the Constitution or after the States Reorganisation Act of 1956. In any case, said the court, the 1924 agreement expired in 1974 after a period of 50 years and now the allocation of inter-state river water is governed by equitable apportionment.

The court rejected the Centre’s argument that Section 6A of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act of 1956 bestowed upon it the discretion in framing a Cauvery water-sharing scheme. The court said that a scheme has to be framed under Section 6A as per the award of the CWDT.

On December 9, 2016, the Supreme Court had refused the Centre’s stand that the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the Cauvery river dispute, as according to the Centre the parliamentary law of Inter-State Water Disputes Act of 1956 coupled with Article 262 (2) of the Indian Constitution excluded the Supreme Court from hearing or deciding any appeals against the tribunal’s decision. The Centre considered the tribunal award as final. But the apex court pointed out that the remedy under Article 136 was a constitutional right and it cannot be taken away by a legislation much less by invoking the principle of election or estoppel.The court dismissed arguments that the bar under Article 363 of the Constitution prevents judicial review of a pre-Constitution treaty or agreement as in the case of the 1892 and 1924 agreements.The court said that the “principle of paramountcy” does not apply to the 1892 and 1924 agreements, as they were not political arrangements but based on public interest.

The Supreme Court directed that the Cauvery Management Board should be set up immediately to oversee the enforcement of the order. This would come as a relief to Tamil Nadu.

The court directed the Centre to frame a scheme in six weeks from the date of the final verdict so that the authorities under the scheme could see to it that the decision could be made functional. This is pursuant to the CWDT recommendation for a Cauvery Management Board (CMB) on the lines of Bhakra Beas Management Board. The Tribunal had further said that the mechanism shall be independent in character, comprising of technical officers from the central government and representatives from the governments of the party states to achieve the objective of the distribution of waters as per equitable shares determined. It further said that since the implementation of the final award of the Tribunal involves regulation of supplies from various reservoirs and at other important nodal points/diversion structures, the Cauvery Management Board would have to be entrusted with the function of supervision of operation of reservoirs and with regulation of water releases therefrom with the assistance of Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (to be constituted by the Board).

Comments

While Karnataka has welcomed the verdict, Tamil Nadu political entities have expressed disappointment. However, if analysed properly, the reduction in the quantum of water is not all that much. But the state has to make a greater effort to conserve and replenish ground water.

Tamil Nadu has for long been demanding the constitution of the CMB but Karnataka has opposed it as the board can take control of reservoirs (Karnataka would then lose its supervisory control over the four Cauvery basin reservoirs — the Krishnarajasagar , Hemavathi, Kabini and the Harangi) to ensure release as per the award. With the constitution of the board, Tamil Nadu can be sure of the board ensuring that Karnataka does not defy the order, even if not getting the amount of water it had asked for.

The CMB would monitor the storage position in the Cauvery basin and the trend of rainfall and go on to assess the likely inflows for distribution among the states. The CWRC will ensure the Tribunal’s order is carried out in due spirit.Karnataka would not be able to say that it would release water to Tamil Nadu only after it had a sufficient storage in the reservoirs.

RBI Leaves Rates Unchanged

On February 7, 2018, the monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its bi-monthly review decided not to change interest rates. The repo rate (the rate at which RBI infuses liquidity into the banking system) was kept at 6 per cent. Of the six members of the monetary policy committee, five, namely, Chetan Ghate, Pami Dua, Ravindra H. Dholakia, Viral V. Acharya and Urjit R. Patel, voted in favour of keeping the rates unchanged, while one, Michael Debabrata Patra, wanted the rates raised by 25 basis points.The committee headed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel had last reduced the benchmark lending rate by 0.25 percentage points to 6 per cent, bringing it to a 6-year low, in August 2017.

On the price front, the central bank warned about inflation: the March quarter Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation forecast was raised to 5.1 per cent; an inflation range of 5.1-5.6 per cent was projected in the first half of the next fiscal year.

Among the reasons the RBI listed for the uncertainties clouding the inflation outlook were: the staggered impact of the increase in housing rent allowance made by the state governments, rising price of crude oil and other commodities in the wake of a pick-up in global growth, rise in minimum support prices for kharif crops, the budget’s increase of custom duties and the fiscal slippage.

The RBI, however, looks optimistically at the economic growth front, projecting an acceleration in economic growth to 7.2 per cent from the 6.6 per cent in the current fiscal year. This projection is based on a number of factors such as revival in investment demand and strengthening exports.

In the light of the signs of recovery being seen in the economy, the RBI seems to have decided that it had to nurture that recovery by holding the interest rates despite the threat of inflation. Future decisions on rates would be driven by data pertaining to growth and inflation,and could be in either direction.

Factors that augur well for the economic growth included the stabilising goods and services tax (GST) regime, improving credit offtake, rising capital goods production and recapitalisation of banks, according to the monetary policy committee. On the flip side were “the deterioration in public finances risks crowding out of private financing and investment.”

The decision of the monetary policy committee is consistent with the neutral stance of monetary policy in keeping with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for CPI inflation of 4 per cent within a band of +/- 2 per cent, while supporting growth.

Points to Note

  • A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.
  • As the repo rate has not changed, the reverse repo rate under the LAF remains at 5.75 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 6.25 per cent.
  • Inflation as measured by the CPI has been rising and has exceeded 4 per cent, the central bank’s medium-term target, for two consecutive months.
  • CPI inflation had gone up to 5.21 per cent in December 2017, the fastest pace in 17 months, from 4.88 per cent in November 2017. The increase was partly due to the statistical impact of a low base.
  • RBI projected retail inflation in the range of 5.1-5.6 per cent for the first half of 2018-19, while assuming a normal monsoon.
  • The monetary policy committee has a mandate to ensure inflation remains in a band between 2 per cent and 6 per cent.
  • System liquidityis currently in surplus, but is steadily moving towards its stated objective of neutral mode.
  • The central bank’s liquidity operations are driven by the objectives of its monetary policy and the need to meet reserve demands of the economy.

SAMEEP project: Taking Indian Foreign Policy to Students Across the country

A new programme, Students and MEA Engagement Programme (SAMEEP), has been launched by the Indian foreign office, as part of its ‘outreach’ mission, to take Indian foreign policy and its global engagements to students across the country. The objective is to familiarise school and college students in India about the functioning of the MEA, as well as introducing them to the key elements of India’s foreign policy and its success stories by engaging with the youth at the grassroots level.

The project will require officers of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on leave to travel to their hometowns and particularly their alma mater. They are to engage students in the schools and colleges in the jobs that the ministry is engaged in, so as to give them a fair idea of how India engages with the world, what are its foreign policy priorities and how diplomacy is actually conducted. The programme is voluntary and gives officials the option of going back to their alma mater or to any school or college in their hometown.

 

The ministry would give them a standardised presentation and officials would be free to improvise and add their personal experiences. The idea is not only to get the ordinary student to take an interest in India’s place in the world and its global ambitions but also to look at diplomacy as a career option. A similar programme has had IAS officers also going back to the place of their first posting to assess its development and make recommendations.

The MEA programme has crowd-sourced its name from the My Gov portal, out of 550 entries.

MEA has also started an interactive program on social media called ‘Ask the spokesperson to answer questions from people on aspects of Indian foreign policy.

 

BharatNet Project: Phase II Launched

The government started its second and final phase of BharatNet project in November2017to provide high-speed broadband in all panchayats by March 2019.

Under this phase, that has an outlay of around Rs34,000 crore,  the government aims to connect 1.5 lakh panchayats through 10 lakh kilometres of additional optical fibre and give bandwidth to telecom players at nearly 75 per cent cheaper price for broadband and wifi services in rural areas. Officials have been asked to include and enforce the clause of financial incentive for speedy execution of Phase-2 of the project.

Telecom operators are to provide at least 2 megabits per second speed to rural households.

Connection point or exchange for optical fibre at each panchayat will be provided under the scheme. Thereafter, telecom operators can buy connection or bandwidth from the government to sell the same in rural areas.

Broadband services rates are expected to be low because of intensive competition in the sector and the government is offering bandwidth under the project to telecom operators at 75 percent lower rate than they currently buy it. Telecom operators Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone may provide services under BharatNet.

The telecom ministry has signed agreements with seven states—Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand—which will roll out the project on their own with partial funding from the central government.

BSNL will roll out optical fibre in eight states in this phase, i.e., Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim, that were not covered under the first phase of BharatNet.

Power Grid Corporation of India has been awarded contract for three states—Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Odisha.

The government estimates that the second phase of BharatNet will double the existing optical fibre footprint in the country and generate employment of 10 crore man-days during the rollout of the project. Around Rs4.5 lakh crore value can be added to the national gross domestic product on completion of BharatNet phase 2, based on a study that says that every 10 percent usage of Internet in India drives up GDP by 3.3 percent.

OFC and Wi-Fi

Phase-2 involves laying of Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) over electricity poles, so the participation of states will be important. This is a new element of the BharatNet strategy as the mode of connectivity by aerial OFC has several advantages, including lower cost, speedier implementation, easy maintenance and utilization of existing power line infrastructure. The last mile connectivity to citizens was proposed to be provided creating Wi-Fi hotspots in gram panchayats.

The government will provide support of Rs3,600 crore to telecom operators for rolling out wifi in villages. India at present has 38,000 wifi hotspots. Under BharatNet phase 2, around 6-7 lakh wifi hotspots will be added with 2-5 hotpsots in each panchayats. Some of the wifi hotspots may not be commercially viable initially and so viability gap funding of around Rs3,600 crore is to be provided to telecom operators.

The total wifi rollout cost is estimated to be around Rs10,000 crore. Under BharatNetPhase I, the government has set up 15,000 wifi hotspots of which around 11,000 are in rural areas and the rest in semi-rural.

Phase I

Phase-1 of the project was completed  by connecting over one lakh Gram Panchayats (GP) across the country with high speed optical fibre network as per the declared deadline of December 31,  2017.  Some 1,03,275 GPs had been connected by laying 2,38,677 km of. OFC. Of these, 75,082 GP locations are ready for broadband services.

About BharatNet


For the deeper digital penetration in rural areas, the Government has taken up BharatNet initiative to link each of the 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats of India through Broadband optical fibre network. On its completion, BharatNet would facilitate Broadband connectivity for over 600 million rural citizens of the country. This is the largest rural connectivity project of its kind in the world.The project aims to provide affordable broadband services to citizens and institutions in rural and remote areas, in partnership with States and the private sector.   It will facilitate the delivery of various e-Services and applications including e-health, e-education, e-governance and e-commerce.Created on the mantra of ‘Create, Collaborate and Conquer’, the project is expected to generate many employment opportunities both direct and indirect in the country.

The entire project is being funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was set up for improving telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country. The total project cost of BharatNet is around Rs45,000 crore, of which Rs11,200 crore have been used for the first phase.

A Centre-state collaborative project, with the States contributing free Rights of Way for establishing the Optical Fibre Network, the project involves a three-phase implementation process:

*The first phase envisages providing one lakh gram panchayats with broadband connectivity by laying underground optic fibre cable (OFC) lines by 2017 end.

*The second phase will provide connectivity to all 2,50,500 gram panchayats in the country using an optimal mix of underground fiber, fiber over power lines, radio and satellite media. It is to be completed by March 2019.

*In the third phase from 2019 to 2023, state-of-the-art, future-proof network, including fibre between districts and blocks, with ring topology to provide redundancy would be created.

As on 31.12.2017, in1,09,926GPs,  OFC laying of 2,54,895 km was completed and broadband connectivity provided in 1,01,370 GPs.

After rural exchange rollout in the country when telecom services started, this is the biggest project involving domestically manufactured products for the entire project.

SC Stays Ban on Padmavat Movie

Padmavat

Certain states of India have issued notifications that the movie Padmavat is not to be released in their respective states. On January 18, 2018, the Supreme Court stayed these notifications and orders.

The movie has been certified by the CBFC.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and including Justices A. M.Khanwilkar and D. Y.Chandrachud also restrained other states from issuing such notifications or orders banning the exhibition of the film.

The Supreme Court ordered all states to see to it that public law and order is maintained during the screening of the film across the country.The three-judge Bench led by the Chief Justice, quoting its 2011 Prakash Jha judgment, observed in a detailed order that it is “the duty and obligation of the State to maintain law and order”.

The Chief Justice of India observed, “The whole problem when exhibition of a film is stopped like this, my constitutional conscience shocks me.”

The bench noted that creative content including theatre and cinema are inseparable aspects of Right to Freedom and Expression guaranteed under the Constitution.

It was pointed out by the court that the movie may not do well in the box office because people decide not to see it, but the State could not ban its exhibition on grounds of risk to public order.

It was also pointed out that after the CBFC had issued a certificate to a film under the Cinematograph Act of 1952, the State has no power to prohibit the exhibition of the film.The court held that “once the Parliament has conferred the responsibility and power on a statutory board and the board has certified the film, non-exhibition of the film by states is contrary to statutory provisions.”

The apex court further ordered that the artists and other people involved in the movies be protected from threats.

The court was hearing a petition by the makers of the movie, Padmavat, against the moves made by the BJP-ruled states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh against the movie.While Gujarat and Rajasthan had issued notifications on January 5 and 17, respectively, prohibiting the screening, Haryana had in-principle decided to ban the exhibition of the movie, and the Madhya Pradesh government had made statements of intention to ban the screening of the movie.

The Supreme Court dismissed the argument by Gujarat and Rajasthan, represented by Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, that CBFC could not be aware of the security risks and public order situation. It was the State’s right to act to prevent “breach of peace”.

Harish Salve, who was representing the petitioners, argued that the film Padmavat had been certified by the CBFC after certain changes were made. “States,” he said, “cannot throw the CBFC certificate in the dustbin. This is lawlessness. States cannot ban screening to appease their political constituency. This will lead to constitutional breakdown.” He further submitted that “Certifying a film is a statutory act under a central law. States cannot defy the Supreme Court and encroach into Union territory merely because it is politically convenient.”

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said on behalf of the movie makers that “States cannot become super censors”.

The matter will be taken up for further hearing on March 26.

In 2011, the Supreme Court ‘quashed and set aside’ the two-month ban imposed by the Uttar Pradesh government on the screening of filmmaker Prakash Jha’sAarakshan. In that judgment, the court had said that once the CBFC has cleared the film for public viewing, screening of the same cannot be prohibited in the manner sought to be done by the State. It is the responsibility of the state governments to maintain law and order.

SPECTRUM’S Handbook for GENERAL STUDIES PAPER-II 2018

Spectrum Handbook for General Studies Paper-1 Edition 2018

 

India Fires Agni-5

Agni-5

On January 18, 2018, India was successful in testing Agni-5, the surface-to-surface ballistic missile.

Agni-5 was fired from a canister launcher, mounted on a mobile platform, from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Abdul Kalam Island (earlier known as Wheeler Island).

Agni-5, capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and the most advanced missile in the Agni series, traveled for 19 minutes and covered 4,900 km.

The user associate test-flight has further boosted indigenous missile capabilities and deterrence strength of the country.

This was the first user associate test of the Agni-5 after four developmental trials.

Agni-5 incorporates new technologies of navigation and guidance, warhead, and engine.

According to DRDO sources, the “high speed onboard computer and fault tolerant software along with robust and reliable bus guided the missile flawlessly.” It was also pointed that the “redundant navigation systems, very high accuracy Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System and the most modern and accurate Micro Navigation System had ensured the missile reached the target point within few meters of accuracy.”

Agni-5is to be a three-stage solid fuelled missile with composite motor casing in the third stage. It will be capable of carrying multiple warheads and have the ability to display countermeasures against anti-ballistic missile systems.

The missile is programmed to ensure that on reaching the peak of its trajectory it will turn towards the earth to travel towards the intended target with an increased speed as the earth’s gravitational pull acts on it.

The advanced on-board computer and inertial navigation system is designed to precisely direct the missile’s path.

In 2012 and 2013, the first two successful flights of the Agni-V were conducted in open configuration. The third (2015), fourth (2016) and the fifth (the latest) were in its deliverable configuration; this enables the missile to be launched with a much shorter time for preparation as compared to what is required for an open configuration. Besides, there are the advantages of being more reliable, having a longer shelf life, requiring less maintenance and having enhanced mobility.

India’s Agni series has Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with 2000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2500 km to more than 3500 km range.

With Agni-5, India joins the group of countries with inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBM)along with the US, Britain, Russia, China, and France.

Spectrum Handbook for General Studies Paper-1 Edition 2018

SPECTRUM’S Handbook for GENERAL STUDIES PAPER-II 2018

 

National Testing Agency (NTA)

National Testing Agency

 

National Testing Agency (NTA)

The Union cabinet has approved the creation of National Testing Agency (NTA) as a Society registered as per the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860,  as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct entrance examinations for higher academic institutions. In view of the requirement to possess a specialized body in India just like the most advanced countries, the finance minister in the Budget speech of 2017-18 had declared setting up of a National Testing Agency (NTA) as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct all entrance examinations for higher academic institutions.

The NTA would at first conduct those entrance examinations that are presently being conducted by the CBSE. different examinations are going to be taken up gradually when NTA is fully all set.The entrance examinations are going to be conducted in online mode a minimum of twice a year, thereby giving adequate chance to candidates to bring out their best. In order to serve the requirements of the rural students, it’d find the centers at sub-district/district level and as so much as possible would undertake active training to the students.

NTA is going to be chaired by an eminent educationist appointed by MHRD.The chief executive officer will be the Director-General to be appointed by the govt.There will be a Board of Governors comprising members from user institutions. The Director-General will be assisted by nine verticals headed by academicians/ specialists.NTA will be given a one-time grant of Rs.25 crore from the govt. of India to begin its operation within the 1st year. Thereafter, it’ll be financially self-sustainable.

Establishment of NTA will benefit about forty lakh students appearing in varied entrance examinations. it’ll relieve CBSE, AICTE, and different agencies from the responsibility of conducting these entrance examinations, and also bring in high responsibility, standardized problem level for assessing the aptitude, intelligence and problem-solving skills of the students.

♦ Pradeep Gautam

 

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS GRAPHS & DIAGRAMS( HINDI)

 

Current Events November Part-1

Current Events November

Current Events November

 

Who won Kenyan’s presidential elections in Oct 2017?

ANSWER:Uhuru Kenyatta
30th Oct 2017 Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner of the country’s deeply divisive elections, taking 98% of the ballots cast in a poll boycotted by his rival Raila Odinga. 

 

Which  veteran actor, playwright is to be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at Tata Literature Live!

ANSWER: Girish Karnad
Veteran actor Girish Karnad will be honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest

 

Who has been selected for the Mathrubhumi Literary award for 2016 for contribution to Malayalam literature?

ANSWER: M K Sanu 
Eminent critic, biographer and orator M K Sanu has been selected for the Mathrubhumi Literary Award for 2016.

 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs  has approved the continuation of which scheme as Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana- Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR)? 

ANSWER: Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana
The CCEA chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the continuation of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana as Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana- Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR) for 3 years i.e. 2017-18 to 2019-20.

 

Who has been appointed CEO of the joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and AXA?

ANSWER: Vikas Seth

Which insurance company in India is the first to give cover for victims of cybercrime?

ANSWER: Bajaj Allianz
For the first time, an insurance company is selling , including loss of funds to online fraud, identity theft, phishing ,cyberstalking ,extortion etc

 

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Who is Abdul Qavi Desnavi?

Desnavi

Abdul Qavi Desnavi  was an Indian Urdu language writer, critic, bibliographer, and linguist.

  • He was Born on November 1, 1930 in Desna village of Bihar
  • From fiction to biography and poetry, Desnavi has written a vast number of Urdu texts over a span of five decades
  • His important work was about Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Mirza Ghalib and Allama Muhammad Iqbal.
  • Among his major works were Hayat-e-Abul Kalam Azad, a book on freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad published in 2000.
  • Some of his other famous works include Sat Tahriren, Motala-E-Khotoot Ghalib and Talash-E-Azad
  • His other major works include ‘Urdu Shairi Ki Gyarah Aawazein’, ‘Bachchon Ka Iqbal’, ‘Allama Iqbal Bhopal Mein’, ‘Ek Shahar Panch Mashahirs’, and ‘Bhopal Aur Ghalib’.
  • He was awarded with several awards for his literary work.
  • 1st November 2017,Abdul Qavi Desnavi’s 87th birth anniversary celebrated with a Google Doodle
  • He was also a mentor to other renowned Urdu writers such as Javed Akhtar and Iqbal Masood. 
  • Desnavi passed away on July 7, 2011, in Bhopal at the age of 80. 

 

Source: Photo/Wikimedia Commons

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Current Events October 2017 Part-4

Current Events October 2017

Current Events October

 

Govt. of India and World Bank have signed a USD 200 million loan agreement for which state’s agribusiness and rural transformation? 

Answer: Assam
The Government of India and the World Bank signed a $200 million Loan Agreement for the Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project.The $200 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 7-year grace period, and a maturity of 16.5 years.

 

Which country’s Central Bank is planning to block access to crypto-currencies websites?

Answer :Russian Central Bank. 

 

Who won the Hridaynath Mangeshkar award in 2017?

Answer :Writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar has been honoured with the Hridaynath Mangeshkar Award this year

 

Which badminton player from India won his 4th Super series title of the year at the French Open 2017?

Answer: Kidambi Srikanth

Kidambi Srikanth claimed his fourth Super series title of the year from five entries into the finals of the French Open 2017. 

 

Which planet was discovered by NASA’s MAVEN to have a twisted magnetic tail?

Answer: Mars

Nasa’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission) spacecraft, which has been orbiting Mars since 2014, has been gathering data that will allow scientists to study the upper atmosphere of the Planet Mars

 

On 23rd Oct 2017, Who has been appointed the representative of India to carry forward dialogue in J&K?

Answer : Dineshwar Sharma

The Govt of India appointed Dineshwar Sharma, former Director of Intelligence Bureau, as the Representative of Government of India to initiate and carry forward a dialogue with the elected representatives, various organizations and concerned individuals in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Which of the following is the title of a coffee table book on Department of Defence Production?

Answer: A Journey Towards Self Reliance

It chronicles the post-independence years of development, indigenisation and production of arms, ammunition and defence equipment, with a view to achieve self-reliance for the Armed Forces of India.

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Current Events Oct

current events

 

Current Events of National and International Importance

 

Where is the ASEAN defence ministers meeting plus being held in Oct 2017? 

ANSWER: Philippines

The ASEAN defence ministers began their high-level security dialogue on Oct 23, 2017 to discuss security issues, including counter-terrorism, drug trafficking and maritime conflicts, facing the region.

Which city  hosted an International Puppet festival from Oct 26, 2017?

ANSWER: Kolkata

Artists from the UK, Germany, Peru, Portugal, Italy, Lithuania, Brazil, Singapore and India would be participating in the festival.

 

Which organisation is the lead agency for the BIMSTEC DMEx-2017?

ANWER: National Disaster Response Force 

The First ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’ (BIMSTEC DMEx-2017) was conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as the lead agency from October 10-13, 2017 in Delhi and NCR.
Disaster Management was one of the important Agenda items the BIMSTEC leaders deliberated upon during the Goa BRICS Summit in October last year where BIMSTEC leaders were  Invitees.

 

ADB and GOI have signed a USD 300m loan to improve quality of public service delivery in which state?

ANSWER: West Bengal

 

In a landmark verdict, Supreme Court  has held sexual relations with wife under ____ years of age as rape.

ANSWER: 18 YEARS 

In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court  on Oct 11, 2017 ruled that sex with a wife who is under 18 years of age is rape and therefore a crime.Before this  ruling, there was an exception in Section 375 rape law provisions that protected a man who had sexual relations with his wife even if she was under 18, which is the age of consent.SC did not rule on ‘marital rape’, which is sexual intercourse forced upon a spouse no matter what their age.

Which anti immigration,rightist party won 13.1 percent of votes in German elections for the first time in more than half a century?

ANSWER: Alternative for Germany

 

Which airports secured first rank in the category of 2-5 million passengers in ACI-ASQ survey?

ANSWER: Jaipur Airport 

The Jaipur Airport got First rank  in the category of 2-5 million passengers in ACI-ASQ Survey.
This is for the second consecutive time that Jaipur Airport has been rated the Best Airport in the World in the traffic volume of 2 to 5 million passengers per year. The Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards  recognize the airports which have achieved the highest passenger satisfaction ratings in the ASQ Survey – the world’s benchmark measure of airport excellence.

 

Which musical artist(s) won the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration?

ANSWER :Winners include the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust ( Madhya Pradesh), musician A.R. Rahman, Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, poet Gulzar,TM Krishna ,and activist P.V. Rajagopal, filmmaker Shyam Benegal and lyricist Javed Akhtar.

The Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration was instituted in 1985 by the Congress in its centenary year. The award is conferred on October 31 for promoting national integration, understanding and fellowship among different communities and cultures of India.

 

Who Won the third Super Series premier title at Denmark Open in Oct 2017?

ANSWER: Kidambi Srikanth

Kidambi Srikanth clinched his third Super Series Premier title with a dominating straight-game victory over Korean veteran Lee Hyun II in a lopsided final of the USD 750,000 Denmark Open.

 

On Teacher’s Day 2017, which portal providing national digital infrastructure for teachers was launched?

ANSWER: DIKSHA

DIKSHA portal, a national digital infrastructure for teachers was launched. It will enable, accelerate and amplify solutions in the realm of teacher education. The DIKSHA Portal is created to provide digital and advance technology to the teachers.

 

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Current Events Oct -4

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Global Hunger Index for the year 2017

Global Hunger Index

Global Hunger Index for the year 2017 ,India ranks 100 among 119 countries, down 45 positions since 2014

  • The 2017 GHI released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) termed India’s hunger levels ‘serious’ problem
  • The hunger index ranks countries based on undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting (low weight for height) and child stunting (low height for age).
  • The GHI ranks countries on a 100-point scale. Zero is the best score (no hunger), and 100 is the worst, although neither of these extremes is reached in practice.
  • Globally, the Central African Republic is ranked as the the sole country with ‘extremely alarming’ hunger with about 58 percent of its population living in a state of undernourishment over the past three years

The  component indicators used to calculate the GHI scores:

  1. Undernourishment:Updated data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) were used for the 1992, 2000, 2008, and 2017 GHI scores. Undernourishment data for the 2017 GHI are for 2014-2016.
  2. Child wasting and stunting: The child undernutrition indicators of the GHI—child wasting and child stunting—include data from the joint database of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank
  3. Child mortality: Updated data from the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation were used for the 1992, 2000, 2008, and 2017 GHI scores. For the 2017 GHI, data on child mortality are from 2015.

Some good news.

  • The level of hunger in developing countries decreased by 27 percent since 2000.
  • During the same period, GHI scores of 14 countries, including Senegal, Azerbaijan, Peru, Panama, Brazil and China improved by 50 percent or more.
  • Angola, Ethiopia and Rwanda—each experienced violent conflict in recent decades—were among 72 countries which improved their GHI scores between 25 and 49.9 percent, making progress from “extremely alarming” levels to “serious levels”.

India’s performance

  • India ranks 100th out of 119 countries on the global hunger index. India stood at 97th position in last year’s rankings.
  • Despite a massive scale-up of national nutrition-focused programmes, drought and structural deficiencies have left large numbers of poor in India at risk of malnourishment
  • The country’s serious hunger level is driven by high child malnutrition and underlines need for stronger commitment to the social sector.
  • However, India has made considerable improvement in reducing its child stunting rate, down 29% since 2000
  • The data from the report showed that India ranked lower than all its neighbouring countries – Nepal (72), Myanmar (77), Bangladesh (88), Sri Lanka (84) and China (29) – except Pakistan, which has been placed at 106th in the global hunger list. And Afghanistan (107).
  • Even North Korea (93) and Iraq (78) fared better in hunger parameters and GHI rankings

Concerns:

  • India’s high ranking on the Global Hunger Index again this year brings to the fore the disturbing reality of the country’s stubbornly high proportions of malnourished children.
  • India has more than a fifth (21 percent) of its children wasted (weigh too little for their height),and over a third are too short for their age.
  • Even with the massive scale up of national nutrition-focused programmes in India, drought and structural deficiencies have left large number of poor in India at risk of malnourishment in 2017.

Way ahead:

  • India has developed and launched an action plan on ‘undernourishment free India’ by 2022.
  • The plan shows stronger commitment and greater investments in tackling malnutrition in the coming years.
  • The GHI report comes after the latest 2015-16 National Family Health Survey (NFHS) and cities three points of concern for child nutrition from the NFHS.
  • First, the availability of solid food with breast milk for young children (when they transition from exclusive breastfeeding) declined from 52.7% to 42.7%.
  • Second, the proportion of children between 6 and 23 months who received an adequate diet was 9.6%.
  • Third, no more than 48.4% of households had access to improved sanitation facilities

♦ Pradeep Gautam

Sources:

The Hindu.
Times now news

Pic  wikipedia

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