19TH OCTOBER CURRENT AFFAIRS

1. Global Hunger Index, 2020

News: India has the highest prevalence of wasted children under five years in the world, which reflects acute undernutrition, according to the Global Hunger Index 2020.

Global Hunger Index (GHI)

  • The GHI has been brought out almost every year by Welthungerhilfe lately in partnerships with Concern Worldwide since 2000; this year’s report is the 14th one.
  • The reason for mapping hunger is to ensure that the world achieves “Zero Hunger by 2030” — one of the SDGs laid out by the UN.
  • A low score gets a country a higher ranking and implies better performance.
  • It is for this reason that GHI scores are not calculated for certain high-income countries.
  • Each country’s data are standardised on a 100-point scale and a final score is calculated after giving 33.33% weight each to components 1 and 4, and giving 16.66% weight each to components 2 and 3.
  • For each country in the list, the GHI looks at four indicators:
  1. Undernourishment(which reflects inadequate food availability): calculated by the share of the population that is undernourished (that is, whose caloric intake is insufficient)
  2. Child Wasting(which reflects acute undernutrition): calculated by the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (that is, those who have low weight for their height)
  3. Child Stunting(which reflects chronic undernutrition): calculated by the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (that is, those who have low height for their age)
  4. Child Mortality(which reflects both inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environment): calculated by the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

Results for 2020

Global Scenario:

  • Worldwide Hunger: Represented by a GHI score of 18.2 (moderate level), down from a 2000 GHI score of 28.2 (serious).

Factors responsible:

  • The Covid-19pandemic and the resulting economic downturn, as well as a massive outbreak of desert locusts in the Horn of Africa and other crises, are exacerbating food and nutrition insecurity for millions of people.
  • It needs to be noted that 2020 GHI scores do not reflect the impact of Covid-19on hunger and undernutrition. The above mentioned crises come on top of existing hunger caused by conflict, climate extremes, and economic shocks (random, unpredictable events).
  • Region-wise Performance: Africa South of the Sahara and South Asia have the highest hunger and undernutrition levels among world regions, with 2020 GHI scores of 27.8 and 26.0, respectively—both considered serious. SDG 2 Progress: The world is not on track to achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal – known as Zero Hunger for short – by 2030.

Indian Scenario:
Overall Performance:

  • With a score of 27.2,India has a level of hunger that is “serious”.
  • It ranks 94 out of 107 countries in the Index. In 2019, India’s rank was 102 out of 117 countries.
  • Comparison with Other Countries:
  • India features behind Nepal (73), Pakistan (88), Bangladesh (75), Indonesia (70) among others.
  • Out of the total 107 countries, only 13 countries fare worse than India including countries like Rwanda (97), Nigeria (98), Afghanistan (99), Liberia (102), Mozambique (103), Chad (107) among others.

Performance on the Indicators:

  • Undernourishment: 14%of India’s population is undernourished (2017-19). It was 16.3% during 2011-13.
  • Child Wasting:3% (2015-19), it was 15.1% in 2010-14.
  • Child Stunting:7%, it has improved significantly, from 54% in 2000 to less than 35% now.
  • Child Mortality:7%, it was 5.2% in 2012.

Way forward

  • Governments, private actors, and NGOs should carefully coordinate their responses to overlapping food and health crises and work with community organizations to make sure interventions are culturally acceptable, reach the most vulnerable, and preserve local ecosystems.
  • Food should be priced not only by its weight or volume but also by its nutrient density, its freedom from contamination, and its contribution to ecosystem services and social justice.
  • Governments should expand access to maternal and child health care, as well as education on healthy diets and child feeding practices.
  • Supporting smallholder farmers in becoming sustainable and diversified producers; governments and NGOs must seek to improve those farmers’ access to agricultural inputs and extension services, coupling local and indigenous agricultural knowledge with new technologies.
  • Existing human rights-based multilateral mechanisms and international standards—such as the Committee on World Food Security—must be strengthened to support inclusive policy making and sustainable food systems.

2. India’s Population Trends

News: Recently, C Rangarajan (former Chairman, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council) argued that there is an urgent need to reach young people both for reproductive health education and services as well as to cultivate gender equity norms. His arguments are based on the Sample Registration System (SRS) Statistical Report (2018) and United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) State of World Population 2020.

  • There have been some encouraging trends in India’s population in the Sample Registration System (SRS) Statistical Report (2018)and global population projections made by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), US.

Sex Ratio at Birth:

  • Biologically normal sex ratio at birth is 1,050 males to 1,000 females or950 females to 1,000 males.
  • The SRS Report 2018 shows that sex ratio at birth in India, declined marginally from 906 in 2011 to 899 in 2018. Sex ratio is measured as the number of females per 1,000 males.
  • The UNFPA State of World Population 2020 estimated the sex ratio at birth in India as 910,which is on the lower side of index.
  • This is a cause for concern because this adverse ratio results in a gross imbalance in the number of men and women and its inevitable impact on marriage systems as well as other harms to women.

Trends in TFR

  • SRS report estimated the Total Fertility Rate (TFR), the number of children a mother would have at the current pattern of fertility during her lifetime, as 2.2 in the year 2018.
  • It is estimated that replacement TFR of 2.1would soon be, if not already, reached for India as a whole.
  • As fertility declines, so does the population growth rate. This report estimated the natural annual population growth rate to be 38 per cent in 2018. A comparison of 2011 and 2018 SRS statistical reports shows that TFR declined from 2.4 to 2.2 during this period.

States’ data

  • In 2011, 10 states had a fertility rate below the replacement rate. This increased to 14 states.
  • The annual natural population growth rate also declined from 1.47 to 1.38 per cent during this period.

Population stabilization in India

  • Duet to population momentum effect, a result of more people entering the reproductive age group of 15-49 years due to the past high-level of fertility, population stabilisation will take some time.
  • The UN Population Division has estimated that India’s population would possibly peak at 161 crore around 2061. Recently, IHME estimated that it will peak at 160 crore in 2048. Some of this momentum effect can be mitigated if young people delay childbearing and space their children.

Challenges:

  • There is considerable son preferencein all states, except possibly in Kerala and Chhattisgarh. This son’s preference is derived from a regressive mindset. g.: People associate girls with dowry.
  • Cheaper technology like ultrasound helps in sex selection.
  • The Prenatal Conception and Prenatal Determination Act (PC-PNDT), 1994which punishes healthcare professionals for telling expectant parents the sex of a child with imprisonment and hefty fines, has failed to control the sex selection.
  • Reports found major gaps in the training of personnel implementing PC-PNDT. Poor training meant that they were unable to prepare strong cases against violators to secure convictions.
  • Illiterate women in the reproductive age group of 15-49 years have higher fertility than literate women.

Government Initiative- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme:

  • The sharp decline in sex ratio as pointed by Census 2011 data called for urgent action. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme was launched in 2015 in Panipat, Haryana to address the issue of decline in child sex ratio and related issues of empowerment of girls and women over a life cycle continuum.
  • It is a triministerial effort of the ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development (now Ministry of Education).

Conclusion

  • In conclusion, there is an urgent need to reach young people both for reproductive health education and services as well as to cultivate gender equity norms. This could reduce the effect of population momentum and accelerate progress towards reaching a more normal sex-ratio at birth. India’s population future depends on it.

SRS Report

  • SRS is the largest demographic sample survey in the country that among other indicators provide direct estimates of sex ratio, fertility rate etc. through a nationally representative sample.
  • It is brought by the Office of Registrar General.

United Nation Population Fund

  • The UNFPA is aimed at improving reproductive and maternal health It is headquartered in New York.

Total Fertility Rate and Replacement rate

  • Total fertility rate (TFR) in simple terms refers to total number of children born or likely to be born to a woman in her life time if she were subject to the prevailing rate of age-specific fertility in the population.
  • TFR of about 2.1 children per woman is called Replacement-level fertility (UN, Population Division).
  • This value represents the average number of children a woman would need to have to reproduce herself by bearing a daughter who survives to childbearing age.
  • If replacement level fertility is sustained over a sufficiently long period, each generation will exactly replace itself without any need for the country to balance the population by international migration.

3. National Authority of Ship Recycling

News: The Central government has notified the Director-General of Shipping as the national authority for recycling of ships under the Recycling of Ships Act, 2019.

About NASR

  • The national authority of ship recycling will be set up in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The location of the office will benefit the ship recycling yard owners situated in Alang, Gujarat which is home to the largest ship recycling industry in the world. DG Shipping is authorized to administer, supervise and monitor all activities relating to ship recycling in the country.
  • DG Shipping will oversee the sustainable development of the ship recycling industry, monitoring the compliance to environment-friendly norms and safety and health measures for the stakeholders.
  • DG Shipping will be the final authority for the various approvals required by the ship-recycling yard owners and state governments.

Recycling of Ships Act, 2019

  • Under the Ship Recycling Act, 2019, India has acceded to the ‘Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships’.
  • This was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). DG Shipping is a representative of India in the IMO and all the conventions of IMO are being enforced by DG Shipping.

About Hong Kong Convention

  • The Hong Kong International Convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships, or Hong Kong Convention is a multilateral convention adopted in 2009, which has not entered into force.
  • The convention has been designed to try to improve the health and safety of current ship breaking practices. The Hong Kong Convention recognised that ship recycling is the most environmentally sound way to dispose of a ship at the end of its life, as most of the ship’s materials can be reused.

4. Chapter Proceedings

News: The Mumbai police last week began “chapter proceedings” against the Editor-in-Chief of a news channel.

What exactly are “chapter proceedings”?

  • Chapter proceedings are preventive actions taken by the police if they fear that a particular person is likely to create trouble and disrupt the peace in society.
  • These proceedings are unlike punitive action taken in case of an FIR with an intention to punish.
  • Here, the police can issue notices under sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure to ensure that the person is aware that creating nuisance could result in action against him.

The procedure:

  • A notice is issued to a person under section 111 of the CrPC whereby he is asked to present himself before the Executive Magistrate – an ACP-rank officer in a commissionerate of a deputy collector in rural areas – who has issued the notice.
  • The person has to explain why he should not be made to sign a bond of good behaviour.
  • If the Executive Magistrate is not satisfied with the answer, the person is asked to sign a bond of good behaviour and produce sureties vouching for his/her good behaviour.
  • A fine amount is also decided –in accordance with the crime and the person’s financial capability – which the person would have to pay if he violates the conditions set in the bond.

Legal immunities against such proceedings

  • On receiving the notice under section 111, a person can appeal the notice before the courts.
  • In fact, in the past, courts have come down strongly against chapter proceedings in some cases.