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News Analysis: 05-12-2018
General Studies-II : Issues relating to poverty and hunger
The national framework to improve nutrition for children must be upgraded on priority
The health, longevity and well-being of Indians has improved since Independence, and the high levels of economic growth over the past two-and-half-decades have made more funds available to spend on the social sector.
Yet, the reality is that a third of the world’s stunted children under five — an estimated 46.6 million who have low height for age — live in India.
A quarter of the children display wasting (that is, low weight for height) as well.
As the Global Nutrition Report 2018 points out, this finding masks the wide variation in stunting levels in different parts of the country.
District-level data show high and very high levels of stunting mainly in central and northern India (more than 30% and 40%, respectively), but less than 20% in almost the entire south.
This shows the important role played by political commitment, administrative efficiency, literacy and women’s empowerment in ensuring children’s health.
Food and freedom go together, and the availability of one strongly influences access to the other; social institutions can work to improve nutrition and children’s welfare in free societies, and the absence of hunger enables people to develop their capabilities.
Governments should acknowledge the linkages and commit themselves to improved nutritional policies. The national framework to improve nutrition already exists.
The Anganwadi Services scheme, which incorporates the Integrated Child Development Services, caters to children up to age six, and to pregnant and lactating women.
If it has not worked well in several States, it must be subjected to a rigorous review and targeted interventions for supplementary nutrition made.
Among the factors affecting the quantity and quality of nutrition are maternal education, age at marriage, antenatal care, children’s diet and household size.
Now that mapping of malnutrition at the district level is available, as in the Global Nutrition Report, it is incumbent on State governments to address these determining factors.
A second issue is that of the quality of nutrition in packaged foods available to children.
Going by the report, only 21% of these foods in India were rated as being healthy, based on overall energy, salt, sugar and saturated fat on the negative side, and vegetable, fruit, protein, fibre and calcium as positive factors.
The fact that the global average of processed foods scored only 31% and a peak of 37% in New Zealand indicates that whole foods and cooked meals emerge superior.
India should invest more of its economic prosperity in its welfare system, without binding itself in restrictive budgetary formulations.
The Economic Survey 2017-18 put social services spending at 6.6% of GDP, an insignificant rise after a marginal decline from the 6% band during the previous year to 5.8%.
The latest report on stunting and wasting should convince the Centre that it needs to understand the problem better and work with the States to give India’s children a healthy future.
Source: The Hindu
General Studies-II : Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Disabilities Act: States going slow on roll-out, says study
A study conducted by the Disability Rights India Foundation (DRIF) on the implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, across 24 States, has revealed that more than half have not notified the State rules, despite a significant lapse of time.
Ten States, including Bihar, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Telengana, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, have notified the State rules, the survey said.
The study, which concentrated on the States’ administrative machinery with respect to the Act, found that nearly 80% of the States had not constituted the funds for implementation of the RPWD Act.
Among the five States to have constituted the funds, Tamil Nadu has allocated ₹10 crore, while Himachal Pradesh has allocated ₹5 crore.
Though 62% of the States have appointed Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities, “the progress has not been substantial.
Only three States have constituted Advisory Committees, comprising of experts, to assist the State Commissioners” the study noted.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands along with Jammu and Kashmir ranked the lowest. The national capital was ranked number 12.
While 58% of the States have not notified Special Courts in the districts for trying offences under the Act, 87% have not appointed a Special Public Prosecutors as mandated by the law, the study said.
Source: The Hindu
General Studies-III : Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
Kandhamal Haldi likely to get GI tag
Odisha’s Kandhamal Haldi (turmeric), famous for its healing properties, is a few steps away from receiving GI tag as the Geographical Indications Journal has advertised its application seeking objections.
Kandhamal Apex Spices Association for Marketing, based at the district headquarter town of Phulbani, had moved for registration ‘Kandhamal Haldi’ which was accepted under sub-section (1) of Section 13 of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
Turmeric is the main cash crop of tribal people in Kandhamal.
Apart from domestic use, turmeric is also used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes.
Source: The Hindu
General Studies-III : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment Disaster and disaster management.
Accounting methods of climate fund questioned
The Finance Ministry has issued a ‘discussion paper’ that has criticised the accounting methods used by developed countries to report how much money they have given, so far, to developing countries to address climate change.
Accounting procedures, regarding the flow of climate finance, is one of the most controversial issues being debated at Katowice, Poland where countries have gathered to agree upon a ‘Rule Book’ to implement the Paris Agreement of 2015, that commits countries to ensure the earth doesn’t warm 2C beyond pre-industrial levels.
In 2019, developed countries are expected to make available $100 billion annually to developing countries, according to a 2010 agreement in Cancun.
In 2016, developed countries published a road map to $100 billion, which claimed that public climate finance levels had reached $41 billion per year in 2013-14. In 2015, India had disputed this figure arguing it was only $ 2.2 billion
It argues that the definition of climate finance in the UNFCCC has remained “imprecise and incomplete.”
There was no clarity on whether the developed countries’ commitment to ‘provide funds’ meant funds committed or those that made it to their intended recipients.
The total pledges to the Green Climate Fund, the largest multilateral fund, was a “meagre” $10.3 billion. Further, most of the total climate finance has flowed into mitigation (a reference to preventing carbon dioxide from being emitted).
The growth in the reported climate specific finance actually slowed down from 24% between 2014 and 2015 to 14% between 2015 and 2016, the paper notes, quoting a report by the finance committee of the UN that manages climate-affairs.
The questions raised by the paper are similar to those articulated by India’s Environment Ministry-led delegation, now part of negotiations in Poland.
Source: The Hindu
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