28 November, 2020

  • Prelims Test Series Course announcement
  • Stepping out of the shadow of India's malnutrition (Indian Society + Polity & Governance + Indian Economy)
  • Fiscal deficit reaches 120% of annual target - (Indian Economy)
  • Core sector contraction widens to 2.5% - (Indian Economy)
  • GDP contracts 7.5% in second quarter - (Indian Economy)
  • Karnataka defers decision on inclusion of Lingayats in OBC - (Environment & Ecology)
  • Question for the day

Prelims Quiz


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    UPSC Current Affairs:  Stepping out of the shadow of India’s malnutrition | Page 06

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Malnutrition and indicators | Mains – GS Paper II – Issues related to hunger and Poverty    

    Sub Theme: Status of Malnutrition | Global Hunger Index | UPSC     

    Stepping out of the shadow of India’s malnutrition

    Malnutrition and Undernutrition

    Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients.

    • Undernutrition—which includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age)and micronutrient deficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals).
    • Obesity—which includes overweight and diet-related noncommunicable diseases.

    State of the nutrition in India

    • Global Hunger Index 2020, jointly published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe, ranks India at 94 out of 107 countries and in the category ‘serious’.
    • National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4), over one-third of all under-five children are stunted (low height-for-age), every fifth child is wasted (low weight-for-height), and more than 50 per cent of the children are anemic.
    • The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 report by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and Better Nutrition, Better Tomorrow report by the Bread for the World Institute – document staggering facts about Indian food insecurity and malnutrition. These reports shows prevalence of highest rates of stunting and wasting in India among South Asian countries.

    Two globally recognised indicators –

    1. Prevalence of Undernourishment (PoU) – It measures the percentage of people who are consuming insufficient calories than their required minimum dietary energy requirement.
    2. Prevalence of Moderate or Severe Food Insecurity (PMSFI) – It identifies the percentage of people who live in households that are severely or moderately food insecure.


    Decline in PoU (2001 to 2018)













    • Hunger Watch” by the Right to Food Campaign presents a very grim situation, with close to one out of every three respondents reporting low food consumption and massive compromise on food quality.
    • Global Nutrition Report–2020, released by WHO - India is among 88 countries that are likely to miss global nutrition targets.
    • According to NITI Aayog’s report on Sustainable Development Goals 2019, only seven states have managed to address UN’s zero hunger goal.

    The paradox

    1. The reduction in poverty has been substantial in India. However, malnutrition has not declined as much as the decline has occurred in terms of poverty. The reduction is found to be much lower than in neighbouring China, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Except China, these are countries which had somewhat similar levels of PoU in and around the year 2000.
    1. Some of the low-income states like Chhattisgarh and Odisha, have performed better on this front compared to Gujarat and Maharashtra where per capita income is almost double.
    2. Tribals, rural, poor and illiterate mothers children are badly off in so-called developed States of Haryana, Gujarat and Punjab
    3. Odisha, which is a low income State, has a better network of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), public health facility/workforce per lakh population and educational attainment among women, which have translated into a better nutritional status when compared with Gujarat.
    4. Ironically, at the same time, India is also grappling with the rising menace of ‘over-nutrition’. Nearly one fifth of India’s adults are either obese or overweight as per NFHS-4 data, leading to an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disorders.
    5. Three-fifths of rural households are agricultural in India (National Sample Survey Office, 70th round) and malnutrition rates, particularly in rural areas are high (National Family Health Survey-4).

    Why nutrition is important

    • Right to food is a fundamental right in India.
      • Article 39(a) - citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means to livelihood.
      • Article 47 - Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health
    • Human Capital
      • The Economic Survey 2019-2020 notes that “Food is not just an end in itself but also an essential ingredient in the growth of human capital and therefore important for national wealth creation”. 
      • Children with under-nutrition, anaemia and iodine deficiency will have low IQ scores and productivity as adults. A World Bank estimate indicates that reducing stunting can raise India’s GDP by 4-11 per cent.
      • India can leverage its demographic dividend only if its citizens attain optimum levels of health, nutrition and cognition.
    • ILO Declaration of Philadelphia, 1944 states “Poverty anywhereis a threat to prosperity everywhere.”
    • "Spirituality cannot be taught on an empty stomach" - Swami Vivekananda.
    • A hungry man can’t see right or wrong. He just sees food. ~ Pearl S. Buck

    way ahead  

    1. Convergent Action
    • Implement Annual Integrated Health, Nutrition and Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) action plans for all districts under the POSHAN Abhiyaan.
    • Align agricultural policy with national nutritional objectives
    • ICDS focus on pre-schooling and growth monitoring at Anganwadi centres for children between 3 and 6 years.
    • Additional home-based contacts - Mothers having children in the age group of 3 months to 2 years to ensure compliance with infant and young child feeding practices as well as healthy behaviors.
    • Create a national nutrition surveillance system
    • The ICDS programme is beset with persistent challenges such as shortage of staff and field workers.. Ensure accountability of the local administration.
    1. Actively engage Panchayati raj institutions, the public distribution system (PDS) and public health engineering departments for delivery of the action plans.

    Institutional mechanism, outside the government, to conduct independent annual audits of the programme to achieve implementation improvements.

    Establish an IT-based real time monitoring mechanism by rolling out the Common Application Software (CAS) developed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on a countrywide basis.

    1. Fortification of staple produced in the organized sector and provide incentives to the industry to do so.
    2. female literacy - birth spacing, delaying age of marriage, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months.
    3. Lack of access to clean drinking water and sanitation – much of childhood under-nutrition is attributable to illnesses (in particular, diarrhoea, pneumonia and measles).
    • WASH
    • Focus on immunization including Rota Virus and Pneumococcal Vaccines
    • Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Days (VHSNDs).
    1. Foetal growth restriction due to maternal nutrition, maternal health, pregnancy complications and epigenetic factors.
    2. Social inequality - girl children are more likely to be malnourished than boys, and low-caste children than upper-caste children.

    This year’s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the United Nations World Food Programme, which should bring some of the focus back on these pressing issues of undernourishment and hunger in India.


    UPSC Current Affairs: Fiscal deficit reaches 120% of annual target | Page 10

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Economy  | Mains – GS Paper III – Economy|   

    Sub Theme: Basics about deficits | UPSC    


    The Union Budget 2020-21 had targeted the Fiscal Deficit of the Government at 3.5% of India’s GDP in the Financial year 2020-21. In terms of absolute value, it was around Rs 7.8 lakh crores.

    However, this article highlights that the Central Government's fiscal deficit has increased to Rs 9.53 lakh crore which is almost close to 120% of the annual budget estimate.

    This is attributed to decline in the revenue accompanied by increase in the Government's expenditure due to the economic slowdown.

    Understanding various Deficits in India

    The Government is said to incur deficit if its expenditure is higher than its revenue. The Government deficit is mainly measured in 3 different ways:

    Revenue Deficit (RD): It is calculated as (Revenue Expenditure- Revenue Receipts) i.e., it highlights the deficit in the revenue account.

    Fiscal Deficit (FD): It denotes the total borrowings of the Government for the entire financial year. The borrowed money may be used for meeting revenue expenditure (maintenance related expenses) as well as Capital expenditure (Creation of new assets).

    Primary Deficit (PD): It is calculated as Fiscal Deficit- Interest payments.

    FRBM Act and Limits on Fiscal Deficit

    In order to ensure Fiscal Discipline and to keep fiscal deficit under check, the Parliament has formulated the Fiscal responsibility and Budgetary Management Act, 2003. Under this act, the Government has been mandated to keep the fiscal deficit at 3% of GDP by the end of 31st March 2021. At the same time, the Government has been given freedom to exceed the Fiscal deficit target by 0.5% on account of certain factors. These factors are national security, war, collapse of agriculture, structural reforms and decline in the GDP growth of a quarter by 3%.

    In the Budget 2020-21, the Finance Minister had decided to invoke the escape clause under the FRBM act and FD target for the financial year 2020-21 has been revised upwards to 3.5%.


    UPSC Current Affairs: Core sector contraction widens to 2.5% | Page 10

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Economy  | Mains – GS Paper III – Economy |   

    Sub Theme: Core Sector of Economy  | UPSC    

    Index of Eight Core Industries

    The Office of Economic Adviser, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade has recently released the Index of Eight Core Industries for the Month of October 2020. The combined Index of Eight Core Industries stood at 124 in October 2020, which declined by 2.5 per cent as compared to the Index of October 2019. Its cumulative growth during April to October 2020-21 has been -13 per cent.

    Details about Index of Eight Core Industries

    In India there are eight core sectors comprising of coal, crude oil, natural gas, petroleum refinery products, fertilizers, steel, cement and electricity. 

    The eight core industries constitute 40.27% of the total index of industrial production (IIP).

    This index is prepared by Office of the Economic Advisor, Ministry of commerce of and Industry and is published monthly with the base year as 2011-12.

    Highest Weightage: Petroleum Refinery production.

    Lowest Weightage: Fertilizers production.

    Note: It is to be noted that IIP is prepared by National Statistical Office (earlier CSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme implementation.


    UPSC Current Affairs: GDP contracts 7.5% in second quarter | Page 01

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Economy  | Mains – GS Paper III – Economy |   

    Sub Theme: Estimates of GDP  | UPSC    

    GDP Estimates

    The National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has released the estimates of GDP for the second quarter (July-September) Q2 of 2020-21. The GDP in the second quarter of 2020-21 has contracted by 7.5% as compared to the record contraction of 23.9% in the first quarter. With economic contraction in two consecutive quarters, India has technically entered into Economic Recession.

    Note: Reasons for the GDP Contraction covered in the DNS dated 1st Sep 2020.


    UPSC Current Affairs: Karnataka defers decision on inclusion of Lingayats in OBC | Page 08

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Art and culture  |

    Sub Theme: Lingayats  | UPSC    


    üThe Philosophy of this religion is known as Saktivisistadvaita, where god is conceived to be qualified by Shakti or cosmic energy. The basis tents of philosophy is same as Vishistadvaita.

    üYoga and Meditation are the paths to achieve the cosmic energy. Lingayats do not eat meat, or smoke or drink alcohol.

    üBasavanna challenged the Brahminical domination of the society and raised voice against caste system, untouchability, gender inequality, Vedic supremacy, ritualistic worship, pilgrimage and sacrifice etc.

    üHe spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas which brought about renaissance in Kannada literature. He set up Anubhava Mantapa, which welcomed men and women from all socio-economic backgrounds to discuss spiritual questions of life.

    üBasavanna coined a slogan – ‘Kayakave Kailasa’;, which means ‘Work is worship’. There is worth in every job.

    üConcept of complete equality. Widows are permitted to remarry.

    üLingayats oppose image worship. In the sect only sacred image is the symbol of Shiva.

    üLingayats do not eat meat, or smoke or drink alcohol.

    üLingayats oppose cremation and follow burial rituals.

    üSacred literature is in Canarese and Telegu. 


    Bibek Kumar 1 month ago

    I think Right to Food is not a fundamental right under COI. please correct me of i am wrong