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14 October, 2019

16 Min Read

Paper Topics Subject
GS-II Education of mothers directly linked to better nutrition for children
GS-III ‘Foreign’ plastic invades Great Nicobar Island
A tax policy that could work Economic Issues
A lodestar to steer the economy. Economic Issues
GS-IV Prize for peace Miscellaneous
GS-II :
Education of mothers directly linked to better nutrition for children

GS-II: Education of mothers directly linked to better nutrition for children.

News

The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey studied 1.2 lakh children between 2016 and 2018 and measured food consumption, anthropometric data, micronutrient levels, anaemia, iron deficiency and markers of non-communicable diseases.

Core Indicators:

Diet diversity meal frequency an minimum acceptable diet are the three core indicators of nutrition deficiency among infants and young children.

Higher schooling in another, children received better diets. Only 11.45 of the children of mothers with no schooling received adequately diverse meals, while 31.8% whose mothers finished class 12th received diverse meals.

Children in the age group of 10-19 showed a higher prevalence of pre-diabetes if their mother had finished schooling .

The prevalence of high cholesterol levels was at 6.2% in these children (age group of 10-19) as opposed to 4.8% among those whose mothers never attended school.

The proportion of children aged two to four consuming dairy products, eggs and other fruits and vegetables increased with the mothers while 80.5% of the children of mothers who completed their schooling .

Flip Side:

Higher level of education among mothers meant that their children received meals less frequently because chances of the women being employed and travelling long distances  to work went up-50.4% of children in the age of 6-23 months born to illiterate mothers versus 36.2% among those who had finished schooling.

Conclusion:

Such children were also at a higher risk of cholesterol as relative prosperity could lead to higher consumption of sugary drinks and foods high in cholesterol. The prevalence of high cholesterol levels was 6.2% in these children as opposed to 4.8% among those whose mothers attended school.

 

 

Source: THE HINDU

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GS-III :
‘Foreign’ plastic invades Great Nicobar Island

GS-III: ‘Foreign’ plastic invades Great Nicobar Island.

News

The pristine beaches of the Great Nicobar island , India’s southern most territory are under threat from plastic.

Threat of plastic in beaches:

  • About 10 countries including India contributed to the plastic litter in the Great Nicobar island. They were Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, India, Myanmar, China and Japan.
  • Major portion of the litter (40.5%) was of Malaysian origin. It was followed by Indonesia (23.9%) and Thailand (16.3%).The litter of Indian origin only amounted to 2.2%
  • The overwhelming contribution from Indonesia and Thailand was likely due to its proximity to the island; the plastic is likely to have made its way to the island because of water currents via the Malacca Strait, which is a major shipping route.
  • The huge quantities of marine debris observed on this island might be due to improper handling of the solid waste from fishing/mariculture activity and ship traffic.
  • Plastic pollution has emerged as one of the severest threats to ocean ecosystems and its concentration has reached 5,80,000 pieces per square kilometre.
  • Plastic represents 83% of the marine litter found. The remaining 17% is mainly textiles, paper, metal and wood.

Strain of Tourism:

However the researchers also point out that litter of the Indian origin on beaches and mangroves of the Andaman Islands is  continuously increasing.

This is probably due to lack of proper guidelines and inadequate staff to monitor these islands.

Biggest threat:

  • Plastic pollution has emerged as one of the severest threats to ocean ecosystems and its concentration has reached 5,80,000 pieces\km. Plastic represents 83% of the marine litter found.
  • The remaining 17% is mainly textiles, paper, metal and wool.

About Great Nicobar Island:

  • The Great Nicobar Island of Andaman has an area of about 1044 sq. km.
  • According to the 2011 census, has a population of about 8,069.
  • The island is home to one of the most primitive tribes of India — the Shompens.
  • The island includes the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve (GNBR) comprising of the Galathea National Park and the Campbell Bay National Park.
  • The island harbours a wide spectrum of ecosystems from tropical wet evergreen forests, mountain ranges and coastal plains.
  • The island is also home to giant robber crabs, crab-eating macaques, the rare megapode as well as leatherback turtles.

Source: THE HINDU

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GS-III : Economic Issues
A tax policy that could work

GS-IIII:  A tax policy that could work.

Indian government desperate to raise more tax revenues. It missed its tax targets  last fiscal year, (poor goods and services tax (GST) collections). Its declared budgetary target for the current year requires tax receipts to increase by around 25%, when the first quarter increase was only 6%.

MNCs Tax Evasion:

  • MNCs manage to avoid taxation in most countries, by shifting their declared costs and revenues through transfer pricing across subsidiaries, practices described as “base erosion and profit shifting” (BEPS).
  • Digital companies, some of the largest of which make billions of dollars in profits across the globe, but pay barely any taxes anywhere.
  • The International Monetary Fund has estimated that countries lose $500 billion a year because of this.

Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS):

  • Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) refers to corporate tax planning strategies used by multinationals to “shift” profits from higher–tax jurisdictions to lower–tax jurisdictions, thus “eroding” the “tax–base” of the higher–tax jurisdictions
  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) define BEPS strategies as also “exploiting gaps and mismatches in tax rules
  • Initiatives to curb BEPS by the OECD and the Trump administration have failed.

The OECD G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project (or BEPS Project):

  • It is an OECD/G20 project to set up an international framework to combat tax avoidance by multinational enterprises (“MNEs”) using base erosion and profit shifting tools
  • The aim of the project is to mitigate tax code loopholes and country-to-country inconsistencies so that corporations cannot shift profits from a country with a high corporate tax rate to countries with a low tax rate.
  • Implementation phase, 116 countries are involved, including a majority of developing countries.
  • The BEPS project looks to develop multilateral dialogue and could be achieved thanks to a successful international cooperation, unavoidable when it comes to such a domestic and sovereign topic.

Conclusion:

A government that is currently ineffective in battling both economic slowdown and declining tax revenues cannot afford to neglect this crucial opportunity.

 

Source: THE HINDU

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GS-III : Economic Issues
A lodestar to steer the economy.

GS-III: A lodestar to steer the economy.

News

There is a anxiety all over about the economic slowdown in the country. While the government is still in denial mode data flowing uninterrupted that sector is starting at a seriously challenging situation.

Data:

  • Private consumption has contracted and is at an 18-quarter low of 3.1%
  • Rural consumption is in a deep southward dive and is double the rate of the urban slowdown
  • Credit off-take by micro and small industries remains stagnant;
  • Net exports have shown little or no growth;
  • GDP growth is at a six-year low with the first quarter of FY20 registering just 5%;
  • Unemployment is at a 45-year-high.

Recession:

  • The technical term for the same is growth recession.
  • A recession is defined in economics as three consecutive quarters of contraction in GDP. But since India is a large developing economy, contraction is a rarity.
  • The last instance of negative growth for India was in 1979.

Consumption:

  • The growth of the Indian economy had been predominated by consumption inclusive of both  Private Final Consumption Expenditure (PFCE) as well as the Government Final Consumption Expenditure (GFCE).
  • The recent sharp fall in PFCE in the June quarter to 3.1 per cent compared to 7.2 per cent in the March quarter has significantly contributed to the recent slowdown.

Measures taken and their impacts :

  • Recently announced  Bank mergers further disturb a major chunk of the banking system in the coming year.
  • Recently announced package for the automobile sector or making banks pass on interest rate cuts to businesses have little impact
  • The announcement of a transfer of Rs 1.76 lakh crore from the RBI to the government will allow the government to maintain the fiscal deficit target at 3.3%. But, this will not provide the needed stimulus.( fiscal deficit today is 9%)
  • Government revised GST for the automobile sector, opened up FDI in contract manufacturing sector and even announced the recapitalization of the banking sector.

Way forward:

Focus on optimum utilization of funds granted by RBI and direct them to boost investment in the economy both infrastructural and research investment.

Structural shifts over the long run can be achieved through tapping into the health and education sectors that long for quality improvements.

Source: THE HINDU

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GS-IV : Miscellaneous
Prize for peace

GS-IV: Prize for peace

News

The Norwegian Nobel Committee’ awarded this year’s Peace Prize to Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

Reasons for the prize:

  • It is a recognition of his efforts for peace in East Africa.
  • Mr. Abiy, became Prime Minister in April 2018 after his predecessor Hailemariam Desalegn resigned amid a political crisis and social unrest.
  • He has taken steps to politically stabilise the country and establish peace on its borders.

Conflict with Eritrea:

  • Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1991 and has fought a disastrous border war during 1998-2000 with its big neighbour.
  • It split thousands of families and killed about 80,000 people.
  • In Eritrea, the dictatorship used the prolonged border conflict as a convenient excuse for conscription and repression of its critics leading to a mass refugee outflow.
  • Mr. Abiy took steps to resume the stalled peace process. He led Ethiopia’s first state visit to Eritrea and met its President, Isaias Afwerki.

Reforms at home:

  • He also initiated reforms at home, such as lifting the ban on opposition political parties, releasing political prisoners and jailed journalists and removing media curbs.
  • Half of his Cabinet members are women and his government has welcomed the dissidents who were living in exile to return.

Challenges ahead:

  • His biggest challenge is to calm ethnic tensions in his conflict-ridden country.
  • Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic federation ruled by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front with a tight grip.
  • Mr. Abiy has loosened this grip and called for a pan-Ethiopian identity and a freer economy and polity.
  • His reform agenda was challenged by ethno-nationalists both within and outside his party.
  • His government remained a spectator when ethnic violence was unleashed in several parts of the country over the past year, and sub-nationalisms emerged stronger.

Conclusion

Being a Nobel peace prize winner, he should come up with a national action plan to end violence, ease ethnic tensions and resettle the thousands displaced by the violence. 

Source: THE HINDU

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