Insights Daily Current Affairs, 12 October 2018

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 12 October 2018


 

Paper 1:

Topic: population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

 

Global Hunger Index

What to study?

  • For Prelims: GHI- key facts, Performance of India and other countries.
  • For Mains: GHI- findings on India, concerns and challenges, remedies.

 

Context: The 2018 Global Hunger Index report has been released. The report is a peer-reviewed publication released annually by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.

The GHI scores are based on a formula that captures three dimensions of hunger—insufficient caloric intake, child undernutrition, and child mortality—using four component indicators:

  • UNDERNOURISHMENT: the share of the population that is under-nourished, reflecting insufficient caloric intake
  • CHILD WASTING: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (low weight-for-height), reflecting acute undernutrition.
  • CHILD STUNTING: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (low height-for-age), reflecting chronic undernutrition.
  • CHILD MORTALITY: the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

 

Performance of India:

  • India has been ranked at 103 out of 119 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2018, with hunger levels in the country categorized as “serious”.
  • At least one in five Indian children under the age of five is wasted. The only country with a higher prevalence of child wasting is the war-torn nation of South Sudan.
  • India’s ranking has dropped three places from last year, although the Index says its results are not accurately comparable from year to year and instead provides a few reference years for comparable data.
  • India has shown improvement in three of the indicators over the comparable reference years. The percentage of undernourished people in the population has dropped from 18.2% in 2000 to 14.8% in 2018. The child mortality rate has halved from 9.2% to 4.3%, while child stunting has dropped from 54.2% to 38.4% over the same period.

 

Concerns:

  • The report terms hunger and forced migration for the severity worldwide.
  • Globally, the level of hunger still falls into the “serious” category, despite improvement over the last two decades.
  • The Index projects that at the current rate of progress, 50 countries will fail to reach the “low” hunger category by 2030.
  • This puts the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 2, which aims to end hunger by 2030, in jeopardy.

 

Way ahead:

Child wasting is high across South Asia, constituting a “critical public health emergency”. Wasting rates are highest for infants aged 0 to 5 months. Therefore, attention to birth outcomes and breastfeeding is important. Also, child wasting in the region is associated with a low maternal body mass index. Hence, there is need for a focus on the nutritional status of the mother during pregnancy.

Factors that could reduce child stunting in South Asia include increased consumption of non-staple foods, access to sanitation, women’s education, access to safe water, gender equality, and national food availability.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2:

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

‘National Policy on Electronics 2018’

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Highlights of NPE.
  • For Mains: Potential, Significance and challenges ahead in the sector.

 

Context: Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has issued draft ‘National Policy on Electronics 2018’ (NPE 2018) for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) Sector of India.

 

Highlights of the policy:

Aim: To promote domestic manufacturing in entire value-chain of ESDM sector for spur economic development in the country. It also aims to double the target of mobile phone production from 500 million units in 2019 to 1 billion by 2025 to meet objective.

Target: Create $400 billion electronics manufacturing industry by 2025, with mobile phone devices segment accounting for three-fourths of production. It also includes targeted production of 1 billion mobile handsets by 2025, valued at $190 billion (approximately Rs. 13 lakh crore) and also 600 million mobile handsets valued at $110 billion (approximately Rs. 7 lakh crore) for export.

Incentives: It replaces existing incentive schemes like Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS), with schemes that are easier to implement such as interest subsidy and credit default guarantee etc. It also takes into consideration interest subsidy and credit default guarantee in order to encourage new units and in expansion of existing units in electronics manufacturing sector.

It also proposes to push development of core competencies in all sub-sectors of electronics including electronic components and semiconductors, automotive electronics, defence electronics, industrial electronics, strategic electronics etc. It also proposes to set up 20 greenfield and three brownfield electronic manufacturing cluster projects have been sanctioned with project outlay of Rs 3,898 crore, including Rs 1,577 crore from Central Government.

Tax benefits: It proposes suitable direct tax benefits, including inter-alia investment-linked deduction under Income Tax (IT) Act for electronics manufacturing sector, for setting up of new manufacturing unit or expansion of an existing unit. The proposal includes increasing tax benefits on expenditure incurred on R&D, enhancing rate of duty drawback for electronics sector, reimbursement of state levies and other levies for which input tax credit is not available, allowing duty free import of second-hand capital goods for electronics hardware manufacturing etc. It also proposes cess on select electronic goods resources to promote certain critical sub-sectors of electronic manufacturing such as semiconductor wafer fabrication and display fabrication units.

 

Sources: pib.


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

Zika virus

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Zika virus related key facts.
  • For Mains: Global concerns and preventive measures in place.

 

Context: Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has confirmed cases of Zika virus in Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur. It was detected through Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) surveillance system.

Following this, the Health Ministry has taken precautionary measures:

  • It has activated control room at National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to undertake regular monitoring of the situation.
  • A Central team also has been deputed to Jaipur. State government also has been supplied with IEC material prepared to create awareness about zika virus disease and its prevention strategies.
  • Extensive surveillance and vector control measures are also being undertaken in area as per protocol by the state government.

 

What is Zika Virus?

Zika virus is similar to dengue fever, yellow fever and West Nile virus. Carried by infected Aedes aegypti mosquitos, Zika is largely transmitted through bites, but can also occur through intrauterine infection.

  • It was first identified in 1947 in Zika Forest, Uganda from where it derives its name.
  • If a woman is bitten by an infected mosquito and becomes infected, Zika can cross into the placenta and affect the fetus. While anyone can contract Zika, pregnant women are the most at risk due to the potential for fetal microcephaly and other neurologic abnormalities.
  • Symptoms include fever, headache, red eyes, skin rash, fatigue, muscle pain etc.

Treatment and Prevention: There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available to treat Zika. The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites and clearing stagnant water where mosquitoes breed.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

World Bank’s Human Capital Index

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: HCI related key facts and performance of various countries.
  • For Mains: HCI, HCP and HDI, need for improvements in human capital and ways to achieve it, India’s reservations about HCI.

 

Context: The World Bank has released a Human Capital Index (HCI) as part of the World Development Report 2019.

Theme for the World Development Report (WDR) 2018: “The Changing Nature of Work”.

 

Human Capital Project (HCP):

As part of this report, the World Bank has launched a Human Capital Project (HCP).

  • The HCP programme is claimed to be a program of advocacy, measurement, and analytical work to raise awareness and increase demand for interventions to build human capital.
  • There are three components of HCP- a cross-country human capital measurement metric called the Human Capital Index (HCI), a programme of measurement and research to inform policy action, and a programme of support for country strategies to accelerate investment in human capital.

 

About Human Capital Index (HCI):

The HCI has been constructed for 157 countries. It claims to seek to measure the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by age 18. The HCI index values are contended to convey the productivity of the next generation of workers, compared to a benchmark of complete standard education and full health.

 

The HCI has three components:

  • Survival, as measured by under-5 mortality rates.
  • Expected years of Quality-Adjusted School which combines information on the quantity and quality of education.
  • Health environment using two proxies of (a) adult survival rates and (b) the rate of stunting for children under age 5.

 

HCI Vs. HDI:

UNDP constructs Human Development Index (HDI) for several years. The HCI uses survival rates and stunting rate instead of life expectancy as measure of health, and quality-adjusted learning instead of merely years of schooling as measure of education.

  • HCI also excludes per capita income whereas the HDI uses it. Two significant changes from HDI are exclusion of income component and introduction of quality adjustment in learning.
  • Exclusion of income element and introduction of quality adjustment makes HCI far less representative of Human Capital Development than the Index claims it to be.

 

Global performance:

The HCI measures the Index outcomes for each country as a fraction of maximum value of 1. As expected the advanced economies such as North America and Europe mostly have HCI value of above 0.75, while South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa have the lowest HCI among the regions.

 

Performance of India:

  • The HCI for India has been estimated at 0.44. The quality adjusted learning has been measured in case of India by using the data as old as 2009.
  • Human Capital Index: A child born in India today will be only 44 per cent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health.
  • The HCI in India for females is marginally better than that for males. Further, there has been marked improvement in the HCI components in India over the last five years.
  • Probability of Survival to Age 5: 96 out of 100 children born in India survive to age 5.
  • Expected Years of School: In India, a child who starts school at age 4 can expect to complete 10.2 years of school by her 18th birthday.
  • Harmonized Test Scores: Students in India score 355 on a scale where 625 represents advanced attainment and 300 represents minimum attainment.
  • Learning-adjusted Years of School: Factoring in what children actually learn, expected years of school is only 5.8 years.
  • Adult Survival Rate: Across India, 83 per cent of 15-year olds will survive until age 60.
  • Healthy Growth (Not Stunted Rate): 62 out of 100 children are not stunted. 38 out of 100 children are stunted, and so at risk of cognitive and physical limitations that can last a lifetime.
  • Gender Differences: In India, HCI for girls is marginally higher than for boys.

 

Why India has decided to ignore the HCI?

  • Discontent with the Methodology.
  • Assessment lacking Global Standard.
  • Gross negligence of important measures.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 3:

Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

 

Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: About the centre, its objectives and functions, all about fourth Industrial revolution.

 

Context: The World Economic Forum has announced its new Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in India, which would aim to bring together the government and business leaders to pilot emerging technology policies.

 

About the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution:

  • The centre would be based in Maharashtra and it has selected drones, artificial intelligence and blockchain as the first three project areas.
  • It will work in collaboration with the government on a national level to co-design new policy frameworks and protocols for emerging technology alongside leaders from business, academia, start-ups and international organizations.
  • NITI Aayog will coordinate the partnership on behalf of the government and the work of the centre among multiple ministries. The WEF has also entered into partnerships with the Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh governments for the new initiative and more states would be roped in going forward.
  • Projects will be scaled across India and globally. As part of the WEF’s global network, the new centre in India will work closely with project teams in San Francisco, Tokyo and Beijing, where such Centres are already present.

 

What is Fourth Industrial Revolution?

As described by the founder and executive chairman of WEF, Klaus Schwab, “the fourth industrial revolution is a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another”.

 

Background:

1st industrial revolution: The first Industrial Revolution began in Britain in the last quarter of the 18th century with the mechanisation of the textile industry, harnessing of steam power, and birth of the modern factory.

2nd industrial revolution: The Second Industrial Revolution, from the last third of the nineteenth century to the outbreak of World War I, was powered by developments in electricity, transportation, chemicals, steel, and mass production and consumption. Industrialization spread even further – to Japan after the Meiji Restoration and deep into Russia, which was booming at the outset of World War I. During this era, factories could produce countless numbers of identical products quickly and cheaply.

3rd industrial revolution: The third industrial revolution, beginning c. 1970, was digital — and applied electronics and information technology to processes of production. Mass customisation and additive manufacturing — the so-called ‘3D printing’ — are its key concepts, and its applications, yet to be imagined fully, are quite mind-boggling.

 

How different will be the 4th industrial revolution?

There are three reasons why today’s transformations represent not merely a prolongation of the Third Industrial Revolution but rather the arrival of a Fourth and distinct one: velocity, scope, and systems impact.

  • The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent. When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace.
  • Moreover, it is disrupting almost every industry in every country. And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance.
  • The 4th revolution will be characterized by the advent of cyber-physical systems which, while being reliant on the technologies and infrastructure of the third industrial revolution, represent entirely new ways in which technology becomes embedded within societies and even our human bodies. Examples include genome editing, new forms of machine intelligence, and breakthrough approaches to governance that rely on cryptographic methods such as blockchain.
  • Hence, it can be said that the 4th industrial revolution is conceptualised as an upgrade on the third revolution and is marked by a fusion of technologies straddling the physical, digital and biological worlds.

 

Sources: pib.


Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact
assessment.

 

UNISDR report on climate related disasters

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Concerns and challenges highlighted by the report, about UNISDR.

 

Context: UN has released a report titled ‘Economic Losses, Poverty and Disasters 1998-2017’. It was compiled by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

  • India suffered a whopping $79.5 billion economic loss due to climate-related disasters in the last 20 years.

 

Highlights of the report:

  • The report highlights the impact of extreme weather events on the global economy. It states that the years between 1998 to 2017 have seen a dramatic rise of 151% in direct economic losses from climate-related disasters.
  • In terms of the impact of disasters on the global economy between 1998 and 2017, affected countries reported direct losses of $2.908 trillion, more than twice of what was lost in the previous two decades.
  • Extreme weather events now account for 77 % of total economic losses of $2.245 trillion. This represents a “dramatic rise” of 151% compared with losses reported between 1978 and 1997, which amounted to $895 billion.
  • The greatest economic losses have been experienced by the US at $944.8 billion, followed by China at $492.2 billion, Japan at $376.3 billion, India at USD 79.5 billion and Puerto Rico at USD 71.7 billion.
  • Storms, floods and earthquakes place three European countries in the top ten nations for economic losses: France, $48.3 billion; Germany, $57.9 billion and Italy $56.6 billion. Thailand with $52.4 billion and Mexico at $46.5 billion complete the list.
  • In terms of occurrences, climate-related disasters also dominate the picture, accounting for 91 per cent of all 7,255 major recorded events between 1998 and 2017. Floods (43.4 per cent) and storms (28.2 per cent) are the two most frequently occurring disasters.
  • During this period, 1.3 million people lost their lives and 4.4 billion people were injured, rendered homeless, displaced or in need of emergency assistance. 563 earthquakes, including related tsunamis, accounted for 56 per cent of the total deaths or 747,234 lives lost.

 

Concerns:

The report concludes that climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events. The disasters will continue to be major impediments to sustainable development so long as the economic incentives to build and develop hazard-prone locations outweigh the perceived disaster risks.

 

Way ahead:

In the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, it is clear that disasters have a steep human cost as millions of people are displaced every year, losing their homes and jobs because of extreme weather events and earthquakes. Therefore, a better understanding of the economic losses from extreme weather events can help to generate greater action on climate change and increased ambition on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

  • Measuring economic losses can also motivate Governments to do more to achieve the targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which seeks a substantial reduction in disaster losses by 2030. Besides, reducing the economic losses from disasters has the power to transform lives and contribute greatly to the eradication of poverty.
  • Integrating disaster risk reduction into investment decisions is the most cost-effective way to reduce these risks; investing in disaster risk reduction is therefore a pre-condition for developing sustainable in a changing climate.

 

UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR):

  • It was established in 1999 as dedicated secretariat to facilitate implementation of International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). It is an organisational unit of UN Secretariat and is led by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (SRSG). It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It is mandated by United Nations General Assembly resolution (56/195) to serve as focal point in United Nations system for coordination of disaster reduction and to ensure synergies among disaster reduction activities of United Nations system and regional organizations and activities in socio‐economic and humanitarian fields.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:

 

IND-INDO CORPAT 2018:

Context: The 32nd edition of India-Indonesia coordinated patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT) is being held in Belawan, Indonesia.