9th Sep, 2020


Report on Literacy Rate released 


Recently, the report on ‘Household Social Consumption: Education in India as part of 75th round of National Sample Survey – from July 2017 to June 2018’ was released.

It is based on the National Statistical Office (NSO) survey. 

It provides for state-wise detail of literacy rate.

Age surveyed: 7 years and above.

India’s Overall Literacy Rate: 77.7%.

Urban Areas: 87.7%.

Rural areas: 73.5%.

Male Literacy Rate: 84.7%.

Female Literacy Rate: 70.3%.

The male literacy rate is higher than the female literacy rate among all states. 

Best Performers: (1) Kerala; (2) Delhi; (3) Uttarakhand; (4) Himachal Pradesh; (5) Assam.

Worst Performers: (1) Uttar Pradesh; (2)Telangana; (3) Bihar; (4) Rajasthan; (5) Andhra Pradesh 

Digital Literacy:

Those who possess computers: 23% of urban households and 4% of rural households.

Those who can operate a computer: Among persons of age 15-29 years, nearly 56% in urban areas and 24% in rural areas. 

Those who use the internet: nearly 25% in rural areas and 58% in urban areas in the same age-group 

The report comes before the International Literacy Day which is celebrated on 8th September every year.

Literacy Day 2020: It will focus on the changes and challenges in learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

SDG 4: ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. 

As per UNESCO, India will achieve universal literacy by 2060.


Webinar organised on International Day of Clean Air For Blue Skies

Recently, a webinar on the occasion of the first-ever International Day of Clean Air For Blue Skies was organised.

Organised by: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) 

Aim of the International Day of Clean Air For Blue Skies: To demonstrate the close link of air quality to other environmental/developmental challenges and raise public awareness related to air quality at all levels.

Indian Government’s Efforts to combat air pollution:

It is committed to reducing the air pollution level in 122 most polluted cities.

In 2014, the Air Quality Index (AQI) was launched which currently tracks the levels of pollution on eight parameters.

Parameters: Ground-level ozone, Particulate Matter (PM) 10, PM 2.5, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ammonia and lead.


Most harmful pollutants: Ground-level ozone and airborne particles 

A brochure on Integrated Measures to Combat Air Pollution under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) was also launched in the webinar.


Suggestions for Improvement

States must work with city-specific plans, as every city has a different source of pollution.

Most effective way to reduce air pollution in cities is to identify the hotspots and then disburse funds. 

Use of electric vehicles must be encouraged and the public transport should be modernised.

Augmenting waste management Infrastructure is essential. 

Car-pooling and use of public transport must be promoted.

India has migrated to BS-VI standards, quality petrol and diesel, which is an important initiative to fight against pollution.

Ministry responsible for deciding the fuel standards: Environment Ministry. 

Fuel standards implemented by: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) 


Review of National Forest Policy, 1988 advocated

Recently the Director General of Forests has advocated for the amendment of National Forest Policy, 1988.

It is based on a research paper published in 2016 in the Natural Resources Forum, a United Nations Sustainable Development Journal.

The research paper called for sustainable forest management based on certification and a policy characterised by restoration, conservation and production equally.

There is a lack of reliable data relating to growing stock, consumption and production of timber.

The potential of timber production from Trees Outside Forests (TOFs) i.e. grown outside government Recorded Forest Areas (RFAs) must be explored and tapped. 

Since the domestic timber production has declined and imports have increased manifolds. There is a need to review Export-Import Policy. 

The paper emphasized on revising the Indian Forest Policy to boost domestic production.

India’s forests are currently governed by the National Forest Policy, 1988.

The Policy has environmental balance and livelihood at its centre.

Some features and Goals: (1) Maintenance of environmental stability through preservation and restoration of ecological balance; (2) Conservation of Natural Heritage (existing); (3) Checking Soil Erosion and Denudation in catchment areas of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs; (4) Checking extension of sand dunes in desert areas of Rajasthan and along coastal tracts

A draft National Forest Policy was released in 2019. 

The basic thrust of the draft is conservation, protection and management of forests along with safeguarding the interest of tribals and forest-dependent people.


International Day to protect Education from attack launched

The first-ever International Day to Protect Education from Attack is being celebrated on September 9, 2020. 

Theme: “Protect Education, Save a Generation.”

The day was established by a unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly. 

UNESCO and UNICEF were called on to raise awareness of the plight of millions of children living in countries affected by conflict.

According to the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA), over the past five years, there have been more than 11,000 reported attacks on education in over 36 countries.

22,000 students, teachers and academics were killed, injured, arrested or otherwise harmed in attacks between 2015 and 2019.

UNESCO and UNICEF will facilitate the annual observance of the Day in close collaboration with partners within and outside the UN system.


Monetisation of assets of POWERGRID

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved monetisation of assets of POWERGRID.

It is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Ministry of Power, through the Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) model.

This is the first time any PSU in the Power Sector will undertake asset recycling by monetising its assets through the InvIT model.

It will use the proceeds to fund the new and under-construction capital projects.

This approval would help POWERGRID to monetise in the first lot, assets with gross block value of more than 7000 crore. 

These assets, which are mainly High Voltage Transmission lines and substations, are held by POWERGRID in form of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs).


Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvIT)

It is like a mutual fund.

It enables direct investment of small amounts of money from possible individual/institutional investors in infrastructure to earn a small portion of the income as return.

POWERGRID, a public limited company under the administrative control of the Ministry of

Power, Government of India, started its commercial operation in the year 1992-93 and is today, a

Maharatna company, engaged in the business of power transmission.


ADB signs $500 million loan for Delhi-Meerut RRTS Corridor

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $500 million loan, to build a modern, high-speed 82-kilometer Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) corridor.

It is the first tranche of a total $1 billion facility.

It will improve regional connectivity and mobility in India’s national capital region (NCR).

The first tranche loan will support construction of the first of three priority rail corridors planned under the NCR Regional Plan 2021 to connect Delhi to other cities in adjoining states.


Asian Development Bank (ADB) 

It is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966, which is headquartered in Manila, Philippines.

ADB aims to promote social and economic development in Asia. 

The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and non-regional developed countries.

The ADB was modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system.

From 31 members at its establishment, ADB now has 68 members.

ADB is an official United Nations Observer.

India was a founding member of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 1966 and is now the bank’s fourth largest shareholder and top borrower.

As of 31 December 2019, ADB’s five largest shareholders are Japan and the United States (each with 15.6% of total shares), the People’s Republic of China (6.4%), India (6.3%), and Australia (5.8%).


Indira Gandhi Peace Prize 2019

Sir David Attenborough has been conferred with Indira Gandhi Peace Prize for 2019 at a virtual ceremony.

The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development is an annual prestigious award named after former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

It is conferred every year by Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust since 1986.

It consists of a citation and a monetary award of Rs. 25 lakh.

The award recognizes creative efforts by individuals/organizations

Sir David is an English broadcaster and natural historian.

He is best known for writing and presenting the BBC Natural History Unit.


The Yanomami tribe 

The tribe has launched a global campaign to expel 20,000 gold miners from their land amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Yanomami live in the rainforests and mountains of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela.

According to Survival International, it is the largest relatively isolated tribe in South America.

They live in large, circular houses called yanos or shabonos, some of which can hold up to 400 people.

The Yanomami consider all people to be equal, and do not have a chief. Instead, all decisions are based on consensus after long discussions and debates.

They are speakers of a Xirianá language.