Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020
Current Affair 1:
Centre launched ‘Green-Ag Project’.
The Union government on July 28, 2020, launched the Green-Ag Project in Mizoram, to reduce emissions from agriculture and ensure sustainable agricultural practices. Mizoram is one of the five states where the project will be implemented. Other states include Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttarakhand.
Aims of Project:
- The project seeks to mainstream biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management objectives and practices into Indian agriculture.
- The overall objective of the project is to catalyze transformative change of India’s agricultural sector to support achievement of national and global environmental benefits and conservation of critical biodiversity and forest landscapes.
- The project will support harmonization between India's agricultural and environmental sector priorities and investments so that the achievement of national and global environmental benefits can be fully realized without compromising India's ability to strengthen rural livelihoods and meet its food and nutrition security.
Who is funding and implementing agencies?
The Green-Ag Project is funded by the Global Environment Facility, while the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation, and Farmers’ Welfare is the national executing agency. Other key players involved in its implementation are Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
The pilot project is supposed to end on March 31, 2026. Nothing more than this is required for this project.
Current Affair 2:
Global Food insecurity due to COVID-19 based on State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 Report
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 has been prepared by the FAO Agricultural Development Economics Division in collaboration with the Statistics Division of the Economic and Social Development Department and a team of technical experts from FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO.
How you will introduce such topics:
In 2015, the member states of the United Nations accepted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which act as a blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all. This is to be done by addressing the global challenges the world is faced with including poverty, malnutrition, and food security. Despite such a goal in place, the number of hungry people globally has been increasing since 2014 even if slightly.
More than a quarter of world’s population already faces some level of food insecurity
- The number of undernourished persons in the world rose to 687.8 million in 2019 which is 8.9% of the world population.
- The number is approximately 60 million more compared to 2014, reveals the State of Food Security and Nutrition report of 2020, released recently by the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
- If this trend persists, the FAO has projected that by 2030, the number of undernourished persons would rise to over 841 million persons, which would be a number greater than that in 2005.
- It has to be noted that these projections were made without taking into consideration the setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acute food insecurity likely to double in 2020 due to COVID-19
- In 2020, COVID-19 coupled with the locust infestation is expected to exacerbate food insecurity. The pandemic has brought about a setback to the years of progress achieved in this area.
- Without doubt, COVID-19 will result in more people getting exposed to food insecurity. FAO’s report projects that an additional 83 to 132 million persons will be pushed to the undernourished category because of COVID-19.
- Meanwhile, according to the UN World Food Programme, the number of people facing acute food insecurity is all set to rise to 265 million in 2020, up from 135 million in 2019, all due to COVID-19.
- Acute food insecurity refers to food insecurity as a consequence of unprecedented events. However, the severity and future of the pandemic is still uncertain, to make further projections.
Disruption in demand and supply of food crops witnessed
- Both demand and supply of food have been disrupted because of the pandemic. The production of major food crops such as wheat, rice, maize, etc. is anticipated to be above average in 2020 by FAO.
- However, measures adopted to contain the coronavirus restricts labour mobility- affecting availability of migrant labour, access to markets, and transportation of the food produce.
- Access to food and economic problems due to lockdowns imposed across the world is expected to impede the demand. The economically backward and vulnerable groups will be most affected as per the report.
- The low- and middle-income countries which are already suffering will face a major blow to their food security. Even countries where food security was not a problem are likely to encounter food insecurity now.
Healthcare services for maternal and infant health hindered due to pandemic
- Healthcare centers have been overwhelmed because of the pandemic and this has affected their ability to extend childcare and antenatal care. Moreover, in developing countries, infectious diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, tuberculosis, etc. are still prevalent and quality nutrition intake is a must.
- Lack of nutrient rich food further weakens their immunity which will increase their vulnerability to contract the viral infection.
- In India, school going children lack access to mid-day meals since education institutions are closed. In many countries, community level activities intended to spread awareness on health and nutrition have also been suspended due to the pandemic.
Nutritional status of people to be affected
- Due to limited mobility, women, children, and persons with disability will be more susceptible as they already lag behind in terms of accessing economic and financial resources.
- Nonetheless, the movement restriction will make it more difficult for persons to access food even if they are economically sound.
- Diet quality is also anticipated to deteriorate since people may tend to buy food with long shelf life which are generally processed and high in salt and sugar content.
- These myriad socio-economic factors are expected to result in a fall of the population’s nutritional status.
- As of 2019, around 144 million (21.3%) children worldwide under five years of age were estimated to be stunted, 47 million (6.9%) wasted and 38.3 million (5.6%) were overweight, while a minimum of 340 million children suffered from micronutrient deficiencies.
Food prices are expected to increase compromising people’s ability to afford nutritious food
- Countries that are heavily dependent on imported food as staples will be at a higher risk due to border closures.
- The World Bank has forecasted the deepest recession since World War – II due to the pandemic. The decreased economic activity because of the pandemic will result in high variation of food prices across and within countries.
- In order to avert increase in food prices, it is necessary that timely corrective interventions are taken by governments. For this, it is necessary that trade channels be allowed to stay open.
Policy recommendations to prevent increase in food price and ensure access to healthy diet at affordable price
In its report, the FAO has listed out a few policy recommendations to prevent increase in the cost of nutritious food and to ensure access to healthy affordable diet. These include
- Emergency food assistance and social protection programs to ensure access to nutritious food for the poor and the vulnerable.
- Provision of life saving humanitarian assistance to prevent famine
- Trade and tax policies should be such that global trade is open
- Focus on key logistics bottlenecks to avoid unnecessary price hikes
- Extend direct support to smallholders to help them enhance productivity- reducing pre and post-harvest losses, ensure access to food markets, and opening up e-commerce channels
- Taking up double duty actions to reduce the pandemic’s impact on food security and nutrition, that is, addressing multiple aspects through common interventions. For example, breastfeeding promotion, maternal nutrition and antenatal care programs, etc.
- Initiate food fortification programs (ensure intake of micronutrients)
- Economic stimulus measures to help people cope with decreased purchasing power and unemployment
- Installation of Food Safety Management Systems in the food industry to prevent food contamination
Current Affair 3:
Setback in inter-state tiger relocation Project.
Two years ago, the Odisha government welcomed a tiger and a tigress – Mahavir and Sundari – under India’s first inter-state tiger relocation project. Now, only the tigress survives, and the state is preparing to return her back to Madhya Pradesh.
In the summer of 2018, the tiger Mahavir was relocated from Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh (MP) to the Satkosia Tiger Reserve of Odisha. A few days later, tigress Sundari was also sent to Satkosia from MP’s Bandhavgarh.
Mahavir died some months later allegedly due to poaching. Tigress Sundari meanwhile, after roaming in the wild of Satkosia was kept in an enclosure as she attacked local villagers from the periphery villages. Her attack triggered protests and resentment from the locals. Now, two years later, the Odisha government is preparing to return Sundari to Madhya Pradesh.
Note: Also remember this was the first tiger relocation project in India.
Whose approval is required to translocate tigers: It National Tiger Conservation Authority. Also learn about National Tiger Conservation Authority.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, for strengthening tiger conservation, as per powers and functions assigned to it under the said Act.
You will read the entire function of NTCA given below. Once you read entire functions, it will give you confidence while solving questions related to this.
Current Affair 4:
Sample Registration System survey 2018 (released recently) shows the strong correlation between Education level & Fertility Rate
Ok, understand here that the report is very big. In this section we have only co-related the relation between Education and Fertility rate and development of women. Gradually, we will cover entire section.
The Sample Registration System survey is an annual demographic survey published by the Registrar General of India. The survey gives an estimate of various demographic factors such as birth rates, death rates, fertility, and mortality rates, both at national level and state levels, indicating the progress in socio-economic development. The SRS sample is revised every ten years based on the latest census frame. The present Report is the fifth in the series.
The sample unit for the survey in case of rural areas, is a village or a segment of the village if the population is more than 2000. In case of urban areas, the sampling unit is a census enumeration block with a population between 750 to 1000.
People above the age of seven who can read and write in any language are considered literate
- Those who are aged above seven and can read and write with understanding in any language are considered literate. Even those without any formal education who satisfy this criterion are considered literate.
- As of 2018, around 18.9% of the females had an education up to class X, 12.5% up to class XII, and only 9.8% had an education equivalent to graduate level and above. 4.9% of the females were literate but did not have any formal education.
- It is observed that the percentage of women who completed school education in 2018 was higher than that in 2017.
Female literacy rate among those aged between 15 to 49 years is increasing
Percentage of literate women in the age group of 15 to 49 years has been continuously increasing. Since 2011, the average literacy rate of women in this age group has increased from 68.5% to 87% in 2018. 13% of the women in the said age group fall in the ‘Illiterate’ category.
Fertility level is influenced by literacy level
- Female education has a direct impact on fertility level. Certain studies suggest that higher female literacy level is important for population stabilization and better infant health. The impact of female literacy is independent of male literacy.
- Total Fertility Rate, abbreviated as TFR, is defined as the number of children born to a woman until the end of her child-bearing age. Higher the TFR, more is the number of children a woman may give birth to.
- Female literacy is expected to let women make more informed decisions. Not just that, women will also be able to support themselves and family, and will have more bargaining power, once educated.
- However, other parameters such as general health of population, government support programs, etc., also influence the fertility levels.
Total fertility rate is declining over the years
- In India, as already seen above, the literacy rate among women in the 15-49 age group has been increasing.
- At the same time, TFR has been decreasing for the past few years. Traditionally, Rural areas have always recorded a higher TFR compared to urban areas.
- Between 2006 and 2018, the total TFR dropped from 2.8 to 2.2, implying that on average, a woman gave birth 3 children in 2006, and in 2018, it has reduced to 2. While the TFR in urban areas dropped from 2 to 1.7, the same in rural areas dropped from 3.1 to 2.4 during the 13 years.
As education level among women increases, a decline in TFR is witnessed
As demonstrated in the subsequent chart, the TFR for women reduces with education. The TFR among illiterate women stood at 3. This means that on an average, an illiterate woman had three children. The same among women who were literate and did not have any formal education was 2.5. Among those who had education, the overall fertility rate of women with education below primary level stood at 2.9 while those with primary level education had TFR of 2.5. Women with education up to middle level had a fertility rate of 2.2. and those educated beyond class X had TFR below 2.
Kerala and Himachal Pradesh have higher female literacy levels and lower fertility rates
State-wise data reveals that eight (8) states among the larger states have female literacy rate more than 90%. Kerala continues to record the highest female literacy rate. In 2016, Kerala’s female literacy rate was 99.2%, which increased to 99.3% in 2017 and 99.5% in 2018. Meanwhile, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh continue to record the worst female literacy rate even though the states have reported a substantial improvement over the previous years. Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh recorded female literacy rates of 76.5%, 77.4%, and 79.7% respectively as per SRS 2018.
The same is also reflected in the TFR recorded in the states. It is evident that states which have recorded lower female literacy rates have a higher TFR. Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh have recorded a TFR of 3.2, 2.5, and 2.9 respectively while Kerala and Himachal Pradesh which have highest female literacy level of 99.5% and 98.8%, have a TFR of 1.7 and 1.6 respectively.
Higher Fertility Rate & increasing population inhibit development
- Increasing population & higher population growth rate is a cause for concern for India.
- While some argue that increased population provides more working age population and creates a big consumer market, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages.
- With increasing population & higher fertility rate, health risks for children and their mothers increase. It is also seen that in countries with higher fertility rates, economic growth is stunted.
- The implications on the environment should not be neglected as well.
All this means that education of women which leads to low fertility rates is necessary for a healthy & prosperous nation. Only then, more women can take part in economic activities and make informed choices, leading to greater socio-economic development of country.
Current Affair 5:
Hurricane Hanna hits Texas
Recently, Hurricane Hanna has made landfall (the point at which a hurricane reaches land) in Texas with life-threatening storm surge and strong winds. Hurricanes are large, swirling storms. They produce winds of 119 kilometers per hour (74 mph) or higher.
How Does a Storm Become a Hurricane?
- A hurricane starts out as a tropical disturbance. This is an area over warm ocean waters where rain clouds are building.
- A tropical disturbance sometimes grows into a tropical depression. This is an area of rotating thunderstorms with winds of 62 km/hr (38 mph) or less.
- A tropical depression becomes a tropical storm if its winds reach 63 km/hr (39 mph).
- A tropical storm becomes a hurricane if its winds reach 119 km/hr (74 mph).
Tropical cyclones are called hurricanes in the West Indian islands in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
What Makes Hurricanes Form?
- Warm ocean waters provide the energy a storm needs to become a hurricane. Usually, the surface water temperature must be 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher for a hurricane to form.
- Winds that don’t change much in speed or direction as they go up in the sky. Winds that change a lot with height can rip storms apart.
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale
It is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane's sustained wind speed. This scale estimates potential property damage.
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