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09 Sep, 2022

33 Min Read

UNDP's Human Development Index

GS-II : Important reports Important reports

UNDP's Human Development Index

In accordance with a global decline in HDI scores following the Covid-19 pandemic, India's ranking on the Human Development Index (HDI) has fallen from 130 in 2020 to 132 in 2022, according to the Human Development Report 2021–2022.

About Recent Change In HDI

  • Ordinarily, it is enough to look at a country’s score on the Human Development Index (HDI) and compare it to the global average and the score of some other comparable countries.
  • The HDI is a composite of three broad parameters: longevity, education, and income per capita.
  • But the new set of human development Indices is to include global uncertainties in the form of the disease, wars, and environmental disruptions. The new parameters this year include:
  1. HDI

2. Inequality-adjusted HDI

3. Gender Development Index

4. Gender Inequality Index

5. Multidimensional Poverty Index

6. Planetary pressures-adjusted Human Development Index

Highlights of the Report

  • The HDR has been compiled since 1990 — the global HDI value has declined two years in a row, erasing the gains of the preceding five years.
  • Globally, 90% of nations had a decline in their Human Development Index score between 2020 and 2021, effectively erasing much of the gains made toward the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • For perspective on India’s performance and standing, it makes sense to look at China (ranked 79th), Switzerland (ranked first) as well as the world average.

1. Human Development Index

  • India is ranked 132 out of 191 countries. India’s score of 0.633 is not only a long way away from the top-ranking scores — Switzerland is ranked 1 with a score of 0.962 — but also below the global average.

  • In India’s case, the drop in HDI from 0.645 in 2019 to 0.633 in 2021 can be attributed to falling life expectancy — 69.7 to 67.2 years. India’s expected years of schooling stand at 11.9 years, and the mean years of schooling are at 6.7 years. The GNI per capita level is $6,590.

2. Inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI)

  • The IHDI looks beyond the average achievements of a country in longevity, education, and income to show how these achievements are distributed among its residents.
  • The relative difference between IHDI and HDI values is the loss due to inequality in the distribution of the HDI within the country.
  • India’s HDI falls by 25% — the most among the countries mentioned in the Table — when adjusted for inequality. That’s because the share of income held by the richest 1% of the population is more than the income held by the poorest 40%. Neither China nor Switzerland is as unequal.

3. Gender Development Index (GDI)

  • The GDI essentially estimates HDI values for women and men and then looks at the ratio. The closer this ratio is to 1, the smaller the gender gap between women and men in HDI terms.
  • That India is behind Switzerland is hardly surprising but the more worrisome insight is that India is significantly behind the world average as well. As China’s GDI — which is higher than Switzerland’s — shows that being relatively low on overall per capita income does not bar a country from plugging the gender gap.
  • From India’s perspective, the key HDI metric where women seem to lag behind men the most is the income per capita.

4. Gender Inequality Index (GII)

  • The GII looks at the issue of gender inequality by preparing a composite measure using three dimensions: reproductive health, empowerment, and the labour market.
  • The reproductive health indicators are maternal mortality ratio and adolescent birth rate.
  • The empowerment indicators are the percentage of parliamentary seats held by women and the percentage of the population with at least some secondary education by gender.
  • The labour market indicator is participation in the labour force by gender.
  • The key thing to remember is that a low GII value indicates low inequality between women and men, and vice-versa.
  • India is quite unequal for its female citizens as shown in the table.

5. Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)

  • The Multidimensional Poverty Index captures the multiple deprivations that people in developing countries face in their health, education, and standard of living.
  • Population in severe multidimensional poverty refers to the percentage of the population with a deprivation score of 50 per cent or more. Similarly, “population vulnerable to multidimensional poverty” refers to the percentage of the population at risk of suffering multiple deprivations— that is, those with a deprivation score of 20–33 per cent.
  • Moreover, since India has the world’s second-largest population, a high percentage of those with deprivation implies quite high numbers.
  • According to UNDP’s estimates, as of 2019, India had more than 381 million who were suffering from multi-dimensional poverty. China, for reference, has just 54 million.

6. Planetary pressures-adjusted Human Development Index (PHDI)

  • Planetary pressures-adjusted Human Development Index, adjusts the HDI for planetary pressures in the Anthropocene to reflect a concern for intergenerational inequality — similar to the Inequality-adjusted HDI adjustment — which is motivated by a concern for intragenerational inequality.
  • The PHDI value can be interpreted as the level of human development adjusted by carbon dioxide emissions per person (production-based) and material footprint per person to account for excessive human pressure on the planet.
  • India’s PHDI is much closer to the PHDIs of other countries. That’s because India’s PHDI falls far less (vis a vis India’s HDI) than other countries. This shows that if the HDI scores of some of the richer countries and countries with better HDI ranks were adjusted or corrected for the amount of per capita carbon emissions they will show a far less stellar success in human development.

Parameters where India demonstrated improvement:

  • The report emphasized a few areas where India made progress.


  • Inequality has less of an effect on human development in 2019 than it did in 2016.
  • India is closing the gender disparity in human development quicker than the rest of the globe.
  • The environment has suffered less as a result of this development.

Education and healthcare:

  • India's investments in health and education have helped it become closer to the average level of human development around the world since 1990, according to the intergovernmental organization.

Sanitation, access to affordable clean energy, and clean water:

  • The nation is making it easier to get potable water, sanitary facilities, and cheap renewable energy.

Victim population:

  • The UN noted that the country's recent policy initiatives had improved the vulnerable population groups' access to social protection.

Other information

  • We are not ready for climate change as a species. It claimed that the Anthropocene's recent planetary-scale changes had left mankind unprepared for a future with climate crises like fires and storms as well as other alterations.
  • Insect Population Decline: Without a large number of insect pollinators, people face the impossible problem of producing large quantities of food and other agricultural items.
  • Because of their diversity, ecological significance, and impact on agriculture, human health, and natural resources, insects are significant.
  • All terrestrial ecosystems are biologically supported by them, and they also cycle nutrients, pollinate plants, disseminate seeds, maintain soil structure and fertility, regulate the populations of other species, and provide a significant source of food for other taxa.
  • Plastics are now present everywhere, including country-sized swaths of oceanic trash, protected forests, far-off mountaintops, and people's lungs and blood.

Also, Read - Standalone and non-standalone 5G networks

Source: The Indian Express

Reviewing EWS Quota

GS-II : Governance Reservation

Reviewing EWS Quota

The Supreme Court's Constitution Bench is investigating whether the 10% quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) breaches the Constitution's fundamental principles.

Details about the News

Petition: The Supreme Court's bench will consider whether the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, which imposed the 10% EWS quota, breaches the fundamental principles of the Constitution while hearing petitions against it in government hiring and admissions.

For evaluating the EWS quota, the Supreme Court has established three fundamental questions:

  • Provisions determined by economic standards:
  • Whether the 103rd Constitutional Amendment, which allows the State to implement exceptional rules, including reservations, depending on economic factors, violates the Constitution's fundamental principles.
  • Provisions relating to independent, private institutions:
  • Whether allowing the State to impose specific rules for admittance to private universities without financial assistance violates the Constitution's fundamental principles.

Absence of SEBCs:

  • Whether the exclusion of the SEBCs (Socially and Educationally Backward Classes), OBCs (Other Backward Classes), SCs (Scheduled Castes), and STs (Scheduled Tribes) from the ambit of EWS reservation may be argued to violate the fundamental structure of the Constitution.

Creamy layer in EWS :

  • According to SC, the creamy layer issue is not included in the economically weaker sections (EWS) quota because it was intended to aid the poorest of the poor.

103rd Amendment Act

  • A section of candidates from the General category will receive a 10% reservation in education and government positions in India due to an amendment made by the Parliament to the Constitution of India (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019.

Introduction of Articles 15 and 16's sixth paragraphs:

  • By altering Articles 15 and 16, the amendment added economic reservation. It amended the Constitution by adding Articles 15 and 16 to allow for reservations for those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds in the unreserved category.

Section 15(6):

  • At order to admit students, up to 10% of seats in educational institutions may be set aside for EWS. Minority educational institutions will not be subject to such restrictions.

Section 16(6):

  • Up to 10% of all government positions may be set aside for the EWS under this provision.
  • State's prerogative: According to the Central government, each State government in the nation has the right to impose a 10% economic reservation on employment and admissions to State-run educational institutions.
  • The State government in question must decide whether to grant the economically disadvantaged (EWS) of society reservations for employment in State government positions and admission to State government educational institutions in accordance with the provisions of the newly inserted Articles 15(6) and 16(6) of the Constitution.

EWS Quota Supporting Arguments

Benefits of reservation: According to the government, nothing will prevent members of Other Backward Classes (OBC) and the "poorest of the poor" from receiving the advantages of reservation.

  • The quota is progressive since the economically underprivileged groups have not benefited from public employment and higher education because of their lack of financial resources.
  • The quota is progressive and may help India's problems with income and educational disparity.

Abhorrent conditions:

  • The reservation criteria in India should be economic because many classes, besides backward classes, live in abhorrent circumstances yet are unable to make use of reservation and its intended benefits.

Union of India v. Ram Singh (2015):

  • In this instance, the SC argued that social problems may extend beyond the idea of caste (for example, economic status or gender identity in transgender people).

"Quota for the Poor" policy

  • This policy is a sign of a bigger problem.
  • It displaces the idea that the primary goal of public policy should be to promote welfare, conceals the state's egregious shortcomings in addressing issues of poverty and deprivation, and, at the same time, points to a dead end in the process of formulating policy.

Defending the EWS Quota

Reservation based on financial factors:

  • Even while family income can be one of the criteria, making reservations only based on economic factors is not a perfect option.

Economic backwardness measurement:

  • Identifying economic backwardness is difficult since there are questions about who should be included and excluded when using the criteria.

Equal opportunities:

  • A Constitution Bench ruled in M. Nagaraj v. Union of India (2006) that equality is a fundamental component of the Constitution.
  • Without the constitutional necessity for the 50% cap, the system of equal opportunity would disintegrate.

Financial difficulty:

  • Due to the state's lack of resources, even the current, constitutionally required reservations cannot be enforced, making the implementation of the quota a task in and of itself.


  • It eliminates the legally recognized gatekeeping mechanism of social and educational backwardness and opens reservations to all people, regardless of their level of social backwardness.
  • Reservation has also become synonymous with anti-merit, with the extension of reservation, this opinion might get further ingrained in the public psyche.

    Also, Read - Withdrawing the general consent to the CBI

Source: The Hindu

Parliamentary System in India and Britain

GS-II : Indian Polity Parliament

Parliamentary System in India and Britain

Britain’s longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, died on September 8 at the age of 96.

Image Source - CNBC

British Monarchy

  • The British Monarchy is a constitutional monarchy because an elected Parliament, not the Sovereign Head of State, has the power to draught and enact laws.
  • Although she reigns, the British monarch does not rule.
  • Belgium, Cambodia, Jordan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Thailand are additional constitutional monarchies.
  • In contemporary Britain, the monarch's authority or function is primarily ceremonial.
  • The king "must maintain absolute neutrality in regard to political affairs.

Powers and Functions:

  • Government and Prime Minister Nominations
  • The Prime Minister with the support of the majority of MPs is chosen by the monarch.
  • The Head of State summons the party's leader to Buckingham Palace to form the government after the party wins the general election.
  • The discretionary power to appoint or dismiss a Prime Minister no longer lies with the monarch.

Opening the Parliament:

  • The Monarch opens the Parliamentary year with the State Opening Ceremony, during which he/she delivers an address about the executive's planned policies and priorities in the House of Lords.

Assenting legislation:

  • The sovereign gives his/her Royal Assent to the bills passed in the House of Lords and Commons but that is now essentially a rubber-stamping exercise as the last time a bill denied the Royal Assent was in 1707 by Queen Anne.

Commonwealth Realms:

  • The Monarch is also the head of the Commonwealth of Nations, an association that is a product of the erstwhile British empire.
  • It consists of 56 independent nations with a population of 2.4 billion.

Distinction Between Indian and British Models

India's parliamentary government is substantially modelled after the British parliamentary system. It never did, however, replicate the British system and is different in the following ways:

  • Instead of the British monarchy, India has a republican system. In other words, the Head of the State in Britain (the King or Queen) holds a hereditary status, whereas the Head of the State in India (the President) is elected.
  • The British system is predicated on the idea that Parliament has absolute power, whereas in India, thanks to a written Constitution, a federal government, judicial scrutiny, and fundamental rights, Parliament has only limited and constrained authority.
  • The British Prime Minister must be a member of the Parliament's Lower House (House of Commons). The Prime Minister of India may belong to either of the two Houses of Parliament.
  • In Britain, ministerial positions are typically filled solely by members of Parliament. In India, a non-Parliamentary individual may also be appointed as a minister for a maximum of six months.
  • While India lacks a system of ministerial legal responsibility, Britain does. India's ministers are not needed to countersign the official acts of the Head of State, unlike in the United Kingdom.

Also, Read - Sea Level Rise: Its Impact

Source: The Hindu

Green hydrogen's benefits as fuel for India

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Renewable Energy

Green hydrogen's benefits as fuel for India

  • Long-term storage: The intermittent nature of renewable energy, particularly wind energy, causes grid instability. Green hydrogen has a high energy storage capacity. Fuel cells can be used to generate energy utilizing the hydrogen that has been stored.
  • Grid stability: Hydrogen gas interacts with oxygen to produce electricity and water vapour in a fuel cell, a device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. As a result, hydrogen can serve as an energy storage mechanism and promote grid stability.
  • Financial advantages: According to experts, the oxygen that is created as a byproduct (8 kg of oxygen are produced for every kg of hydrogen) can also be made into money by employing it in industrial and medical applications, for environmental enrichment, or both.
  • Hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier that can be used for a variety of energy applications, including the fusion of renewable energy sources and transportation.
  • Less emissions: Unlike grey hydrogen, which is made from methane and emits greenhouse gases, it is created using RE and electrolysis to split water.
  • Additionally, the byproduct is environmentally favorable because hydrogen may be used to extract energy either through combustion or fuel cells, which produce just water as a result.


Supply-side problems

  • Even if its growth is comparable to that of solar and wind energy, its supply will likely stay limited in the medium term and unpredictable in the long run.

Electrolyser supply

  • It is an apparatus that generates green hydrogen.
  • In comparison to where we need to be in 2050 for Net Zero emissions scenarios, electrolysis capacity is still very small.


  • Government measures should increase demand and infrastructure in addition to supply.

Increased risks of leaks

  • Specifically, in high-pressure pipes, hydrogen embrittlement can damage the metal or polyethene pipes and increase the danger of leaks.


  • When hydrogen diffuses into a material, it can cause hydrogen embrittlement, which causes the metal to become brittle.

Why does India want to produce green hydrogen?

  • India pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 33–35% from 2005 levels under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
  • The objective of this International Climate Change pact is to keep global warming below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels. It is binding international law.
  • India reaffirmed its resolve to transform its economy from one that depends on fossil fuels and imports to one that is net-zero by the year 2070 at the Glasgow Conference of Parties in 2021.
  • India spends about $100 billion annually on energy imports.
  • The country now emits a significant amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), contributing roughly 7% of the world's CO2 burden, as a result of rising fossil fuel consumption.
  • It will help the iron and steel, chemical, and transportation sectors in India, which together account for 1/3 of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.
  • India's goal to become carbon neutral by 2050 and reach 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 can be boosted by hydrogen energy.

Way Forward

  • Even if customers' interest in electric vehicles has started to grow recently, renewable energy companies see green hydrogen as a growing business. Some have even focused on the transportation industry.
  • In order to design and analyse the optimal model for implementing green hydrogen as a primary fuel, policymakers must establish a comprehensive strategy.

Also, Read - Parliamentary System in India and Britain

Source: The Hindu

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