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3rd November Current Affairs

Global Hunger Index, 2020 released

What is Global Hunger Index?

The report is a peer-reviewed publication released annually by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.

How are Countries ranked?

The GHI scores are based on a formula that captures three dimensions of hunger—insufficient caloric intake, child undernutrition, and child mortality—using four component indicators:

UNDERNOURISHMENT: the share of the population that is under-nourished, reflecting insufficient caloric intake

CHILD WASTING: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (low weight-for-height), reflecting acute undernutrition.

CHILD STUNTING: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (low height-for-age), reflecting chronic undernutrition.

CHILD MORTALITY: the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

Score:

The GHI ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst. Values less than 10 reflect low hunger, values from 20 to 34.9 indicate serious hunger; values from 35 to 49.9 are alarming; and values of 50 or more are extremely alarming.

Key findings:

India has the highest prevalence of wasted children under five years in the world, which reflects acute undernutrition.

India ranks 94 out of 107 countries in the Index, lower than her neighbours such as Bangladesh (75) and Pakistan (88).

The report put India under serious category with the score of 27.2.

The child stunting rate in India was 37.4 %.

The child wasting was at 17.3 %.

The undernourishment rate of India was at 14% and child mortality at 3.7 %.

What will a no-deal Brexit mean for the UK?

In News:

After six months of negotiations and a stalemate over key issues, on Friday 16 October, Boris Johnson said the UK must be prepared for a no trade deal with the EU from January, in a strong sign that negotiations with Brussels are coming to an end.

Is a no-deal Brexit really possible?

Yes. Failure to agree replacement trading arrangements will mean the UK leaving without a deal on January 1 and trading on WTO terms, which would introduce tariffs and quotas.

The Withdrawal Agreement will still be in place, so issues like the Irish border and the so-called “divorce bill” will be settled under its terms, but many other issues remain unresolved.

In other words, the original “no deal” may not be possible, but what is now known as “no deal” might better be viewed as a “no trade deal” exit.

What would no deal look like?

The European Union is adamant that there is no such thing as a “managed” no deal –  fearful that making a no deal look too comfortable risks turning it into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That will not prevent the European Commission from making contingency plans to smooth out significant disruption but only on a temporary, unilateral basis and only if it is in the EU’s interest.

Whether or not there is a trade deal, UK financial services will only be granted access to the EU market on the basis of “equivalence”, which is the same system of regulatory recognition US firms have.

How would Trade & Customs be managed?

Without any formal trade deal, the UK would have to rely on WTO rules – in a model described by Brexiteers as an “Australia-style” relationship.

The default commission position is “all relevant” EU legislation will apply to imports and exports, including tariffs, which will mean customs checks.

Conclusion:

If a point is reached when no deal becomes inevitable, then the interests of both sides would become equally aligned in avoiding a catastrophic outcome.

Even with temporary measures in place, the fundamental question of what future relationship Britain and the EU want will remain.

No deal is not sustainable for the long term and eventually the two sides will need to return to the negotiating table.

Why floods occur in Hyderabad?

In News:

Hyderabad was recently listed as the rainiest place in the country by Skymet, an independent weather forecasting agency, on Sunday after it recorded 72.5mm of rainfall.

The city has witnessed its third wettest day of October in the last 10 years- As per India Meteorological Department (IMD) data, Hyderabad witnessed 98.3mm rainfall on October 10, 2013 and 82.6mm on October 3, 2017.

Rainfall this month:

The IMD data indicates that the city has been pounded with 356mm of rains in 18 days, which is four times higher than the normal rains.

What caused this havoc?

This was caused by a weather that formed in the Bay of Bengal, hit the east coast and moved westward, weakening on the way.

Normally, cyclones lose steam upon making their landfall. This particular system, however, clocked a long east-west track cutting across Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, north-interior Karnataka and Maharashtra.

All these states experienced above-normal rain during the recent monsoon season. As a result, the soil in these regions has retained significant moisture content.

In addition, vertical wind shear — the result of a significant difference in wind speed between higher and lower atmospheric levels — helped the system maintain its intensity as a deep depression or a well-marked low pressure area even on land.

But, why floods occur in Hyderabad?

Hyderabad is a system of catchments.

The western edge is in the Godavari river basin.

To the east, it’s in the Krishna River basin.

Also, Hyderabad is in the Deccan region, which has a chaotic drainage pattern — water here does not flow in a single direction as the slope is in multiple directions.

What efforts were made in the past to control floods?

In 1908, devastation caused by a cloud burst and the flooding claimed 15,000 lives and rendered 80,000 homeless.

Sir Visvesvaraya was commissioned to conduct a study and suggest measures to manage the impact of floods on the city. Following this:

Two reservoirs — Osmansagar and Himayatsagar — came up.

A modern system of drainage was also built.

What has not been addressed?

The city has been built on top of the agrarian imprint. Sensitive catchment areas have been illegally occupied.

Roads have been built, which are rigid boundaries, around the ‘fluid’ water bodies, without any buffer areas.

Unchecked real estate growth.

What needs to be done now?

Take stock of the entire drainage system, not just the nalas.

See the whole city as a catchment area and begin to clear critical areas of encroachments.

For all this to be implemented, we need an executive and ‘ecological’ body like a “Lakes and Parks Authority”, can draw upon and coordinate the relevant parts of the functions at Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA), Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and departments like revenue, irrigation, roads and buildings.

Risk mapping of the areas of the city should be done to assess the vulnerability, related to urban floods, using GIS technology.

Town Planning department of GHMC should regularly monitor the prohibited areas to prevent encroachments.

Conserve and protect areas for groundwater recharge.

“Affordability of nutritious diets in rural India”

In News:

It is a study authored by International Food Policy Research Institute economist Kalyani Raghunathan and others.

The findings of the study were released recently.

Key findings:

Selecting the cheapest options from actual Indian diets — wheat, rice, bajra, milk, curd, onions, radish, spinach, bananas — the study calculated that a day’s meals would cost ₹45 (or ₹51 for an adult man).

Three out of four rural Indians cannot afford a nutritious diet. Even if they spent their entire income on food, almost two out of three of them would not have the money to pay for the cheapest possible diet that meets the requirements.

If they set aside just a third of their income for non-food expenses, 76% of rural Indians would not be able to afford the recommended diet. This does not even account for the meals of non-earning members of a household, such as children or older adults.

Significance of the study:

The findings are significant in the light of the fact that India performs abysmally on many nutrition indicators even while the country claims to have achieved food security.

The latest Global Hunger Index showed that India has the world’s highest prevalence of child wasting, reflecting acute undernutrition.

On indicators that simply measure calorie intake, India performs relatively better, but they do not account for the nutrition value of those calories.

India’s Nutrition Guidelines:

The National Institute for Nutrition’s guidelines for a nutritionally adequate diet call for adult women to eat 330 gm of cereals and 75 gm of pulses a day, along with 300 gm of dairy, 100 gm of fruit, and 300 gm of vegetables, which should include at least 100 gm of dark green leafy vegetables.

The methodology used:

Unlike the Economic Survey’s ‘Thalinomics’, which provided a rosier picture of meal costs, this study uses the wages of unskilled workers who make up a larger proportion of the population than industrial workers, and includes items such as dairy, fruit and dark green leafy vegetables that are essential as per India’s official dietary guidelines.