Current Affairs Analysis

20th January 2016 Current Affairs Analysis

By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
January 20, 2016


Social Issues

  • Sex ratio down, literacy rate of women up: Family health survey
  • The Lancet turns spotlight on ending preventable stillbirths


  • India’s power sector at ‘inflection point’: WEF report
  • Ministry of Shipping initiates Project Green Port

Social Issues

Sex ratio down, literacy rate of women up: Family health survey


According to the recently released National Family Health Survey, in the past 10 years, sex ratio has significantly decreased in nine out of 11 states of India.

  • The report also says that literacy rate of women has gone up in each of those nine states.

Key Facts of the survey:

  • The survey says sex ratio has decreased in nine out of 11 surveyed states. The states surveyed are Goa, Meghalaya, Uttarakhand, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Bihar, and West Bengal. The two Union Territories include Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry.
  • On an average, there are 985 females per 1,000 males in the survey released for the year 2015-16.
  • There were about 1,000 females per 1,000 males in 2005-06.
  • The survey also says that women’s literacy has increased collectively by 12.15 percent in all the 11 states.
  • Only Uttarakhand and Meghalaya have a higher sex ratio. They have 1,015 females per 1,000 males and 1,005 females per 1,000 males respectively.
  • The survey also reported that the number of children delivered under medical supervision has increased by 32.8 percent.
  • Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Bihar saw a huge rise in institutional deliveries.
  • Child marriages have reduced by 13.17 percent for females and 6.7 percent for males.
  • The health status of people in these 11 states has also improved as compared to the previous survey.
  • There has also been an inclination in the Indian families to use clean drinking water, sanitation facilities and cooking fuel.

[Ref: BS]


The Lancet turns spotlight on ending preventable stillbirths


Concerned over the slow rate at which stillbirths have reduced across the world, missing a specific Millennium Development Goal target, the journal, The Lancet, has launched a series of five papers about ending preventable stillbirths and kick-started a campaign along with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


  • An estimated 2.6 million third trimester stillbirths occurred in 2015 across the world.
  • Most stillbirths (98 per cent) occur in low and middle income countries.
  • India continues to be at the top of the table in the rank for number of stillbirths in 2015, recording 5,92,100, followed by Nigeria, Pakistan, China and Ethiopia.
  • In a recent study, 36 per cent of respondents blamed the mother for her lifestyle or diet, 29 per cent said the baby was never supposed to live and 25 per cent blamed it on witchcraft or evil spirits.

What is stillbirths?

A stillbirth is a baby born dead after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy.

  • If the baby dies before 24 completed weeks, it’s known as a miscarriage or late foetal loss.

Causes of stillbirths:

  • In 18 countries with reliable data, congenital abnormalities account only for a median of 7.4 per cent of stillbirths.
  • Many disorders associated with stillbirths are potentially modifiable and often coexist — maternal infections, non-communicable diseases, nutrition, lifestyle factors and maternal age older than 35 years.
  • Prolonged pregnancies, when the baby is not born after 42 weeks of gestation, contribute to 14 per cent of stillbirths.
  • Causal pathways for stillbirth frequently involve impaired placental function, either with growth restriction, or preterm labour or both.

Solutions according to journal:

  • The journal points out that less than 5 per cent of neonatal deaths and even fewer still births are registered.
  • A paper calls for maintaining meticulous records of all births and deaths (maternal and foetal) in order to increase the availability of data
  • While data alone will not help save lives, it would certainly indicate a way to target interventions to reach more than 7,000 women every day worldwide who experience the reality of stillbirth.


Notably, it was in 2011, that The Lancet began its first series on stillbirths, highlighting the rates and causes of stillbirth globally, exploring cost-effective interventions to prevent stillbirths (as well as maternal and neonatal deaths), and setting key actions to halve stillbirth rates by 2020.

[Ref: Hindu]




India’s power sector at ‘inflection point’: WEF report


According to WEF’s report, India’s power sector is at an inflection point and most of its electricity demand in the next two decades will be met by burning fossil fuels despite huge investments in renewables.

  • The report titled ‘The Future of Electricity in Fast-Growing Economies Attracting Investment to Provide Affordable, Accessible and Sustainable Power’, has been prepared by WEF in collaboration with consultancy Bain & Company.
  • The World Economic Forum(WEF) report said tariffs and rates for fuel pricing, costs that are passed through to customers, and peak power policies and pricing should all be transparent and consistent across states.

Key findings of the report:

  • India’s power sector is at an inflection point, given the government’s conviction that electricity is a critical enabler for economic growth.
  • India has set an ambitious plan to add 175 GW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2022.
  • The country aims to have 100 GW of solar power by 2022 alongside its 260 GW of thermal and nuclear generation, and 62 GW of hydro generation capacity.
  • The government recognises the need for private investment in the power sector and is planning to adopt progressive policies on renewables, the report said alignment between federal and state government objectives is critical, as India devolves significant power to the states.
  • Even with the huge investments in renewables, most of the electricity consumed in India over the next two decades will be generated by burning fossil fuel.
  • India can do much to improve the efficiency of the existing power infrastructure.
  • Besides, the country needs to fix the viability of its distribution system and address fuel supply challenges.
  • WEF noted that India’s plan to add 175 GW of capacity from renewables by 2022 can succeed only if the relevant stakeholders act in ways that encourage investment in this part of the sector.
  • As per International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates, India would invest about $845 billion in T&D (Transmission & Distribution) networks between 2015 and 2040 to ensure universal access to power for customers.
  • According to the report, non-OECD countries would have to double their annual investments in electricity from about USD 240 billion to USD 495 billion between 2015 and 2040. This would amount to USD 13 trillion required to satisfy growing demand and meet energy policy objectives.

[Ref: BS]


Ministry of Shipping initiates Project Green Port


The Ministry of Shipping has started ‘Project Green Ports’ which will help in making the Major Ports across India cleaner and greener.

  • ‘Project Green Ports’ will have two verticals – one is ‘Green Ports Initiatives’ related to environmental issues and second is ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’. 

Under ‘Green Ports Initiatives’:

The Green Port Initiatives include twelve initiatives which will be implemented under strict time bound fashion in order to achieve the targets. Some of these initiatives are:

  • preparation and monitoring plan ,
  • acquiring equipments required for monitoring environmental pollution,
  • acquiring dust suppression system,
  • setting up of sewage/waste water treatment plants/ garbage disposal plant,
  • setting up projects for energy generation from renewable energy sources,
  • completion of shortfalls of Oil Spill Response (OSR) facilities (Tier-1),
  • prohibition of disposal of almost all kind of garbage at sea,
  • Improving the quality of harbour wastes etc. 

Under Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan:

The Ministry has identified 20 activities with certain time-line to promote cleanliness at the port premises. Some of the activities include

  • cleaning the wharf,
  • cleaning and repairing of sheds,
  • cleaning and repairing of port roads,
  • painting road signs, zebra crossing, pavement edges,
  • modernizing and cleanliness of all the toilet complexes in the operational area,
  • placement of dustbins at regular intervals,
  • beautification and cleaning of parks,
  • boards indicating cleanliness messages,
  • Cleaning and repairing of all drainages and storm water systems and tree plantation. 

In order to achieve these objectives, regular training will be provided to the staff in order to generate awareness and inculcate a positive attitude towards keeping the environment clean and green. All the Major Ports have already initiated action on the above mentioned activities and are making good progress.

[Ref: PIB]


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