Table of Contents
1. WOMEN’S RESERVATION BILL
TAG: GS 2: POLITY
THE CONTEXT: Government of India introduces women’s quota Bill in Lok Sabha.
- About Women’s Reservation Bill,2023:
- The Government of India introduced the Women’s Reservation Bill to reserve one-third seats in the Parliament and state legislative assemblies.
- It is a constitutional amendment bill.
- The Hindi title of the Bill is ‘Narishakti Vandan Adhiniyam’.
- The women’s reservation Bill was brought in earlier by the Deve Gowda government in 1996, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1998 and 1999 and the Manmohan Singh government in 2008, when it was introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
- Key features of the Bill:
- Reservation for women: The Bill reserves, as nearly as may be, one-third of all seats for women in Lok Sabha, state legislative assemblies, and the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. This will also apply to the seats reserved for SCs and STs in Lok Sabha and state legislatures. There is, however, no separate reservation for women from the Other Backward Classes.
- Commencement of reservation: The reservation would be implemented only after the 2026 delimitation exercise using data from the Census to be conducted after the passage of the Bill. Based on the census, delimitation will be undertaken to reserve seats for women. The reservation in the Lok Sabha can hence be implemented only in the Lok Sabha election in 2029 and not in 2024.
- Tenure: The reservation will be provided for a period of 15 years. However, it shall continue till such date as determined by a law made by Parliament.
- Rotation of seats: Seats reserved for women will be rotated after each delimitation, as determined by a law made by Parliament.
- Number of seats: The number of women representatives in Lok Sabha would reach 181 from the current 82.
- Amendment in the constitution:
- This bill will amend the article 239AA(Delhi legislative assembly shall have the power to make laws for the whole or any part of the NCT with respect to any of the matters in the State List or Concurrent List ), 330 (deals with the reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the House of the People.), 332(The number of seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of any State) of the Indian constitution.
- Present on women MPs:
- Women MPs make up a mere 15% of the strength of the Lok Sabha and around 10% in many Assemblies in the 17th Lok Sabha.
- The allocation of seats in parliament to women empowers women and motivates them to get involved in politics and parliamentary affairs.
- By designating such reservations for women, a spirit of equality is upheld and women have the same rights to enter parliament as males.
- It will strengthen the democracy of the country.
- Reservation of one-third of seats for women in Parliament would restrict the choice of voters in the reserved constituencies.
- Political parties may assign women candidates to constituencies where they are weak.
- The MP may be less motivated to grow his constituency if reserved constituencies are rotated throughout elections because he may not be able to run for reelection from that constituency.
2. ELEPHANT CORRIDORS
TAG: GS 3: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
THE CONTEXT: Centre identifies 62 new elephant corridors; total now 150.
- A new elephant corridor report released by the central government showed a 40 per cent increase in elephant corridors across 15 elephant range states in India.
- The number of elephant corridors have increased to 150 against 88 registered by the Government of India in 2010. The elephant population in the country is estimated to be over 30,000.
- What Are Elephant Corridors?
- Elephant corridors can be described as a strip of land that enables elephant movement between two or more friendly habitats. Or Elephant corridors are linear, narrow, natural habitat linkages that allow elephants to move between secure habitats without being disturbed by humans. The corridors were reported by respective state governments and ground validation methods were used to verify them.
- Total 150 Elephant corridors in India:
- West Bengal has 26 elephant corridors , that is 17 percent.
- The East central region contributed 52 corridors, that is 35 percent.
- The North East region was second largest with 48 corridors, that is 32 percent.
- Southern India registered 32 elephant corridors, that is 21 percent.
- Northern India was lowest with 18 corridors that is 12 per cent.
- Need of Elephant corridors :
- The Asian elephant is currently facing major problems in India despite being a symbol of traditional cultural reverence, having been named a National Heritage Animal, and enjoying the greatest level of legal protection.
- The demand for resources has expanded tremendously over the past few decades along with India’s population growth. This need essentially comes down to the requirement for additional land, which is required for homes, roads, dams, mining, and farmland in order to produce more food.
- Elephants are having to travel farther and farther away, which puts them in confrontation with people.
- Asiatic elephants: Asian elephants come in three subspecies: Indian, Sumatran, and Sri Lankan.
- Estimated population of the world: 20–40,000.
- The majority of the continent’s remaining elephants belong to the Indian subspecies, which has the largest range.
- In India, there are over 30,000 elephants, with Karnataka housing about 25% of them.
- Status on the IUCN Red List: Endangered.
- Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972.
- Status of Appendix I of CITES.
- Elephants in Africa:
- The Savanna (or bush) elephant and the Forest elephant are two subspecies of African elephants.
- African Forest Elephant IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered
- Savanna elephant:endangered
3. SDG SUMMIT
TAG: GS 3: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
THE CONTEXT: Leaders from around the world gathered for the High-level Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit (2023) and agreed to intensify their efforts to deliver SDGs by 2030.
- The SDG summit of 2023 was held in New York.
- Member nations of submit endorsed a resolute political declaration which outlined the shared commitment to create a sustainable and inclusive world by 2030.
- Key outcome: Member nations acknowledge that the objectives of the SDGs 2030 will not be achieved without making a quantum jump in investments to enable just and equal access to food, energy, digital transitions, a revolution in education and strong social security in developing nations.
- The annual SDG funding gap has risen, that’s why leaders in the declaration reiterated that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda is a crucial component of the 2030 Agenda.
- About Addis Ababa Action Agenda: In 2015, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda had emphasised on efficient use of all financial flows, both public and private, for sustainable development and the need for integrated national financing frameworks.
- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
- The Brundtland Commission’s report Our Common Future (1987) provided the definition of sustainable development that is currently most widely recognized.
- To create an inclusive, sustainable, and resilient future for people and the earth, sustainable development (SD) asks for coordinated actions.
- There are 17 SDGs:
SDG summit of 2023:
- The President of the United Nations General Assembly convened Heads of State and Government for the 2023 High-level political forum on sustainable development.
- The Summit marks the mid-point of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and provides a crucial opportunity to accelerate our efforts.
- The SDG Summit will be the centrepiece of the High-level General Assembly. It will respond to the impact of multiple and interlocking crises facing the world and is expected to reignite a sense of hope, optimism, and enthusiasm for the 2030 Agenda.
- The Summit is envisaged to be forward-looking and action-oriented, with the aim of accelerating international action to improve people’s lives and reinvigorating the sense of hope, optimism and enthusiasm that characterized the adoption of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda.
4. THE GDP GROWTH RATE
TAG: GS 3: ECONOMY
THE CONTEXT: The National Statistical Office (NSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) released the economic growth data for the first quarter (April, May, June) of the current financial year. It showed that the India’s economy grew by 7.8% in Q1.
- But it led to a controversy on two different counts.
- First, General Secretary of the Indian National Congress, the main Opposition party, alleged that the Q1 GDP data was overstating the GDP by a full percentage point.
- Second, some economists pointed to the two main ways in which India calculates its GDP and argued that they did not match up.
- In other words, the allegation is that the government is favouring the higher estimate of GDP by using a statistical tool called “discrepancy”.
- However, to understand these two criticisms, we need to understand the how GDP is calculated in India.
What is GDP and how is it calculated?
- The GDP is the most basic way to assess the performance of any economy from one year to another. The idea behind the concept is to assess the size of an economy.
- Ideally, the size of the economy should grow from one year to another except years when some terrible crisis happens like in 2020 there was a global pandemic — all economies tend to grow from one year to another.
- That’s because technically GDP is defined as the total “market value” of all final goods and services in an economy.
- GDP can grow either because an economy actually produces more of goods and services or because the same level of goods and services are priced higher, or as it happens almost always — a combination of the two factors.
- REAL GDP VERSUS NOMINAL GDP:
- It is important here to distinguish between nominal GDP and real GDP.
- The overall GDP that one observes by adding up the market value is called the nominal GDP.
- But to arrive at the “real” GDP, statisticians remove the effect of price inflation from nominal GDP.
- GDP deflator:
- It is the ratio of the value of goods and services an economy produces in a particular year at current prices to that of prices that prevailed during the base year.
- GDP price deflator = (nominal GDP ÷ real GDP) x 100
- Since the real GDP growth rate is a derived number, it crucially depends on the rate of GDP deflator that the official statisticians assume to be the rate of inflation in the country.
Two ways to calculate GDP:
- To arrive at the size of the economy, should one look at all the money earned by everyone in the country, or should one look at all the money spent by everyone in the country?
- The former method is the income method, and the latter method is called the expenditure method of calculating the GDP. India calculates the GDP through both the methods.
- On paper, GDP should be the same no matter which method one uses. But in reality, many issues crop up.
- For instance, timely data availability. Official statisticians can’t always know exactly how much money was spent or earned at least not within the time frame of a quarter or a year. That is why national income data often gets revised.
- The difference between the two GDP estimates is called “discrepancy” it is like that “miscellaneous” heading under which one puts small expenditures that one cannot immediately recall or verify.
IS INDIA OVERSTATING ITS REAL GDP GROWTH RATE?
- India’s real GDP is a derived number and depends entirely on what statisticians assume to be the GDP deflator (the proxy rate of inflation during a period).
- India’s nominal GDP in Q1 of FY24 was 8%. On the face of it, a real GDP growth rate of 7.8% implies that inflation was just 0.2% in the three months — April, May, and June.
- As consumers, the real GDP growth rate of 7.8% an obvious overstatement.
- That’s because the retail inflation rate (the inflation consumers face) in these three months was 4.7%, 4.3% and 4.9%, respectively.
- If one was to “deflate” nominal GDP using consumer price inflation, the real GDP would fall to less than 4%.
- But then if one goes by wholesale inflation, the real GDP will actually be much higher than 8%.
- That’s because wholesale inflation was negative in all the three months -0.8%, -3.6%, and -4.2%, respectively.
CHART shows how rare this is. It maps both nominal GDP growth rate (in orange colour) and GDP deflator (in blue) for each quarter (going back all the way to Q3 of 2008.
- This is not the first time that experts have raised a question mark on the credibility on India’s GDP estimates.
- The former Chief Economic Advisor (under the current government itself) had also argued that India was overstating its GDP.
- The important thing to understand is that the credibility of India’s GDP estimates depends on the quality of underlying data.
- Over the past decade many of these databases have not received the attention they deserved.
- If policymakers do not address the quality of Indian macroeconomic data, the credibility of India’s GDP estimates will continue to be questioned repeatedly.
5. RASHTRIYA VIGYAN PURASKAR
TAG: GS 3: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
THE CONTEXT: The Department of Science and Technology has proposed the constitution of a new Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar which will be the highest recognition in the field of science, technology, and innovation in India for 13 domains.
- The awards will be announced on the National Technology Day (11 May), while the ceremony will take place on National Space Day on 23 August.
- These are the days on which India successfully conducted its second nuclear test in 1998, and then catapulted the Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander on the moon this year.
- Scientists and innovators working in government as well as private sector organisations, or even those working in their individual capacity, who have made distinguished contributions in science and technology-led innovations will be eligible for these awards.
- These awards will be given in four categories — Vigyan Ratna, Vigyan Shri, Vigyan Yuva-Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award and Vigyan Team.
- There will be three Vigyan Ratna, 25 Vigyan Shri, 25 Vigyan Yuva-Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, and three Vigyan Team awards every year.
- Like the prestigious Padma awards, these awards will not include any cash component; instead, they will likely bestow only a certificate and medallion on the awardee.
- It has been drafted in consultation with other departments of the Ministry of Science and Technology and sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the final approval is awaited yet.
- The Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar will be given in the following 13 domains: physics, chemistry, biological sciences, mathematics & computer science, earth science, medicine, engineering sciences, agricultural science, environmental science, technology & innovation, atomic energy, space science and technology.
Open to PIOs and Age limit:
- The new awards will also be open to persons of Indian origin (PIOs), though a maximum of one such may be awarded the Vigyan Ratna, while three PIOs each can be selected for the Vigyan Shri and the VY-SSB.
- However, PIOs will not be eligible for the Vigyan Team awards.
- The Vigyan Ratna awards shall be for “lifetime contributions along with excellence made in any field of science”.
- The Vigyan Shri for “distinguished contribution to any field”.
- The SSB for “exceptional contribution by young scientists”.
- The team awards shall be for three or more researchers who have made an “exceptional contribution as a team”.
- There are no age limits for any prizes except the SSB, for which recipients must be 45 years or younger.
- A Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar Committee (RVPC) will be constituted by the science minister and chaired by the principal scientific advisor to the government, will recommend names for the award from the nominations placed before it.
- The RVPC will comprise secretaries of the six departments and related ministries the department of science and technology, the department of biotechnology, the department of scientific and industrial research, the ministry of earth sciences, the department of space and the department of atomic energy.
- The committee will also have six scientists and technologists from different fields of science and technology, along with four presidents of science and engineering academies.
- The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) will coordinate the administration of the awards process for two years, after which it will be taken over by the proposed National Research Foundation.