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7th September Current Affairs

More than half the funds for POSHAN Abhiyaan are unutilised

(GS-II: Government intervention)

In News:

More than half the funds for POSHAN Abhiyaan unutilised: 4th progress report released by the NITI Aayog

Key findings:

Utilization of funds: Less than half the funds set aside for the POSHAN Abhiyaan have been utilized by India’s states.

Mobile phones and monitoring devices: States and Union territories (UTs) with poor distribution of mobile phones and growth monitoring devices emerged as those with low fund utilization.

POSHAN Abhiyaan funds: Only three states had used more than 50 per cent of their POSHAN Abhiyaan funds between 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.

This improved marginally to 12 between 2017-2019 and FY 2019-2020.

System readiness and capabilities Interventions which has improved compared to the previous progress report:

  • Human resources
  • Infrastructure
  • Supplies
  • Training, and capacity building.

Performance: On a scale of 0-100, only Punjab scored less than 50 among the large states.

Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Mizoram were the poor performers among the small states while no UT scored less than 50.

The report listed five key elements of the POSHAN Abhiyaan scheme:

Impact package: Deliver a high-impact package of interventions in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life

Technology and management: Strengthen the delivery of these interventions through technology and management

Frontline workers: Improve the capacity of frontline workers

Malnutrition: Facilitate cross-sectoral convergence to address the multi-dimensional nature of malnutrition

Community mobilization: Enhance behaviour change and community mobilization

Poshan Abhiyaan:

The programme seeks to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Launched in 2018 with specific targets to be achieved by 2022.

Aim: Reduce Stunting and wasting by 2% a year (total 6% until 2022) among children.

Anemia by 3% a year (total 9%) among children, adolescent girls and pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Target: To bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.

Bangladesh PM favours early solution for Teesta, other issues

In News:

India and Bangladesh signed multiple agreements.

Key Highlights:

Agreement on withdrawal of water river Kushiyara: It will supply water to parts of lower Assam as well as Sylhet of Bangladesh.

Flood water related information: India has extended the period of sharing flood water related information in real time that will help Bangladesh counter the annual floods.

Agreement on training of personnel: The Ministry of Railways of both countries signed an agreement on training of personnel of Bangladesh Railway in India.

Maitree power plant: A 1320 MW supercritical coal fired thermal power plant at Rampal in Khulna division of Bangladesh.

$1.6 billion is Indian Development Assistance for the project.

Rupsha rail bridge: It will help in connecting Khulna with Mongla port and the Indian border at Petrapole and Gede in West Bengal.

Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA): Negotiation for the CEPA would be completed by the time Bangladesh graduates from the Least Developed Country to a developing economy.

Mujib scholarships: For 200 family members of the personnel of the Indian military who were killed or wounded during the Liberation War of 1971.

India’s External Debt

In News:

As per the External Debt management Unit ( under Dept. of Economic Affairs), India’s external debt rose to US$ 620.7 bn (Six hundred twenty point seven) as on March 2022 (an increase of over 8% compared to the previous year)

Basics:

A country’s gross external debt is the liabilities that are borrowed from outside the country and have to be paid back in the same currency.

The debtors can be governments, corporations or citizens.

External debt may be denominated in domestic or foreign currency. (Most of India’s external debt is linked to the U.S. dollar).

External debt is classified as:

  • External Commercial Borrowing
  • Currency Convertible Bonds
  • Government Borrowings (sovereign debt)
  • NRI deposits

Climate reparation

In News:

Pakistan (which recently saw massive flooding) wants rich countries that have contributed the most to climate change, to pay damages to poorer nations.

Details:

Climate reparations refer to a call for money to be paid by the Global North to the Global South as a means of addressing the historical contributions that the Global North has made (and continues to make) toward climate change.

Principle: Demand for compensation for loss and damage from climate disasters is an extension of the universally acknowledged “Polluter Pays” principle  (polluter liable for paying for remedial action and compensating the victims)

Global Norms:

  • UNFCCC (1994) explicitly acknowledges that rich countries must provide both finance and technology to developing nations to help them tackle climate change.
  • Under this, $100 billion amount, the rich countries agreed to provide every year to the developing world. (but not yet fulfilled)
  • Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for Loss and Damages ( 2013) was the first formal acknowledgement of the need to compensate developing countries struck by climate disasters.

Limitations: Reluctance from developed countries, difficulty in estimating the quantum of loss and damage, no mandatory global consensus.

Conclusion:

On the face of it, Pakistan’s and other developing world’s demand for reparations appears to be a long shot, but the principles being invoked are fairly well-established in environmental jurisprudence.

Legionellosis disease

In News:

Argentina’s mystery pneumonia outbreak, where 11 people have been infected has finally been identified as Legionellosis by the country’s health ministry.

About:

Legionellosis is a “pneumonia-like illness that varies in severity from mild febrile illness to a serious and sometimes fatal form of pneumonia,” according to the WHO.

The disease typically spreads via inhalation of contaminated aerosols from contaminated water, which could come from — air conditioning cooling towers, evaporative condensers associated with air conditioning and industrial cooling, hot and cold water systems, humidifiers and whirlpool spas.

Direct human-to-human transmission of this disease has not yet been reported, according to the WHO.

There is concern that it could contribute to the spread of these highly disease-causing strains by linking modern man-made water systems through human transmission.”

The burden that women bear

(GS-II: Institutions and bodies for the protection of vulnerable sections of society, Social empowerment etc)

In News:

75% of women across India undertake time-consuming efforts every day to ensure their families have water (referred to as ‘domestic drudgery’) (NFHS-5).

Domestic drudgery:

  • It refers to menial, distasteful, or hard work.
  • Drudgery affects women from an early age.

Consequences of Domestic drudgery:

  • Exhaustion
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Lower immunity
  • Higher mental stress.
  • It threatens women’s physical safety.
  • It can impact cognitive development and education levels among children.

Issues faced:

National Commission for Women Report, 2005): Longer queues and worse quality of water and losing four-five hours to collect water.

Council on Energy, Environment and Water Report 2021: Difficulties in refilling gas and increasing prices

52% of women in rural India go for firewood.

How government interventions can save women from domestic drudgery:

Banaskantha, Gujarat: Researchers found that when the indoor piped water supply is coupled with job opportunities through micro-enterprises, time-released from water collection is converted into income earned.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana: LPG cylinders received under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana have saved time and improved the health of women.

Conclusion:

Restructuring household roles: The restructuring of household roles and responsibilities would be ideal such that men contribute equally at home.

Systematic investment: A more systematic investment, driven by sustained economic growth and better state capacity, in the delivery of quasi-public goods is also essential.