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Daily Current affairs 24 June 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair






GST Performance versus Promise



Arogyapacha the Miracle Plant



Reimagining the NITI Aayog  



Mortality malady



Reflection of faith




1.   GST Performance versus Promise (The Hindu, Page 15)     


Prelims: Economy

Mains: GS Paper III : Economy 




What is GST?

GST is a transformational indirect tax reform introduced in India. It is a destination based or consumption based tax based value addition. 

There has been a criticism, that the revenue performance of GST has not been as per expectation when actual GST collections are stacked against the budgeted numbers. However, GST’s performance should not be measured against ambitious targets set in the budget, but by growth of the nominal GDP.


  • A study by Arvind Subramaniam and Kapil Patidar in 2018 revealed that in the first year of implementation of GST, revenues grew by 11.9% and buoyancy was 1.2. A buoyancy ratio over 1 shows progressiveness in the revenue growth and opens up the prospect of a rising tax-to-GDP ratio.  This is a significant improvement over the pre-GST period when the buoyancy ratios for State value added tax (VAT) and Central indirect taxes like central excise and service tax were less than 1.

  • Tax to Final Consumption Expenditure grew from 10.3% (2015-16) in the year before GST to 11.9% in 2017-18. 

  • However, this improvement was varied across states. States that had a high percentage of origin based taxes in subsumed revenues – Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Odisha  - were found to lag behind in subsequent revenue performance.

  • The revenue performance is especially creditable given the transitional difficulties during implementation and teething technical problems with the GST Network.

Reasons for relative buoyancy of GST revenue compared to pre-GST period is attributed to two factors:

    • Design of GST integrated the entire value chain from raw material to retail for the purpose of indirect taxation. The reduced non-compliance in downstream trading, as these entities chose to register to avail input tax credit generated upstream.

    • GST revenue growth will reach a steady normal rate only when the effect of the transitional credits are extinguished. Here, the trends are promising. This is also indicated by the fact that monthly CGST revenues are slowly inching towards monthly SGST revenues — the utilisation of the transitional credits has a greater impact on the CGST rather than the SGST. It is for this reason that GST revenue buoyancy is likely to do much better in the coming year.


Steps to boost tax compliance and tax buoyancy in coming years:

  • Revenue performance for entities registered in the composition scheme for GST has been disappointing. Therefore, the imposition of duty on the composition dealers levied on Reverse Charge Mechanism basis could be an important anti-evasion measure in future.

  • Introduction of new GST annual return form and matching of invoices will substantially improve compliance.

  • GST taxable base should be expanded to include petroleum products (especially aviation turbine fuel and natural gas), then bring in real estate and electricity. A further surge in GST revenue will happen once land and real estate is brought under GST net. This will help clean up the land market and the revenue gains will be more on the direct tax side as more transactions are reported under GST.

  • Greater coordination between investigation agencies in the CBDT and CBIC could yield better compliance. The Income Tax department has already incorporated GST registration and turnover information in their return formats. 

  • Greater reliance on data generated and data analytics to unearth non-compliance. Separate data on the sectoral profile of the new registrants and of separate revenue trends for goods and services should be generated. 

  • There is a perception in many States that revenue from services has lagged expectations. This can be rectified by a small modification in the format of GST annual return. This modification would require companies to indicate the HSN (Harmonised System of Nomenclature) code in eight digits in respect of goods supplied by them and accounting codes of each of the services provided. Duty payment in cash should be indicated code wise for each of the goods and services.

The implementation of GST similarly has seen transitional difficulties coming to the forefront in the initial period. Hopefully, in future, we will see the GST yield more of the promised nectar.




2.  Arogyapacha the Miracle Plant (The Hindu, Page 08)     


Prelims: Environment

Mains: GS III – Environment & ecology 




About Arogyapacha


Arogyapacha also called Miracle Plant

  • It is a highly potent medicinal plant endemic to Agasthya hills

  • Traditionally, it has been used by Kani Tribal Community to combat fatigue. 

  • It has varied spectrum of pharmacological properties such as anti-oxidant, aphrodisiac, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, immunodulatory, anti-tumor, anti-ulcer, anti-hyperlipidemic, hepatoprotective and anti-diabetic.

  • Scientists from Kerala have sequenced the whole genetic sequence of the Plant.

  • The sequencing of the genome will help in augmenting further research in to molecular secrets of the plants.  The Genome and annotation data will be a valuable resource to expedite research on Arogyapacha, particularly its secondary metabolism, genetic breeding, and comparative studies.


What is Whole Genetic Sequencing?

It is the process of determining complete DNA sequence of an organism’s genome at a single time. This involves sequencing all of an organism’s chromosomal DNA as well as DNA contained in mitochondria and for plants, in the chloroplast. 

Whole genome sequencing has largely been used as a research tool, but is currently being introduced to clinics. 

  • In future, personalised medicines, based on whole genome sequencing can be developed.

What is annotation data?

DNA Annotation or Genome Annotation is the process of identifying the locations of genes and all of the coding regions in a genome and determining what those genes do. Once a genome is sequenced, it needs to be annotated to make sense of it.

Genome annotation consists of three main steps

  1. identifying portions of the genome that do not code for proteins

  2. identifying elements on the genome, a process called gene prediction

  3. attaching biological information to these elements





3. Reimagining the NITI Aayog (Page 10) 


Mains: GS Paper II– Polity and governance 


NITI Aayog 


About Fiscal Federalism


The Fiscal federalism is economic counterpart of Political Federalism. The Fiscal Federalism essentially consists of 2 aspects:

1. Assignment of functions to different levels of Governments. It is provided under the VII Schedule of the Indian Constitution by allocating the subjects- Union List, State List and Concurrent List. This allocation of subjects is based on the Principle of Subsidiary i.e. the subjects are allocated to that level of government where it can be performed in the most efficient manner. (For Example- Defence has been allocated to Union whereas agriculture has been allocated to State Government)

2. Assignment of financial powers to different levels of Governments in order to

enable them to perform their functions. it is done through the allocation of taxes to Union and States based on the principle of subsidiary. (For example- Income tax has been allocated to Union whereas property tax has been allocated to States)

Thus, Fiscal Federalism provides an economic framework for the working of the federalism in the country.


Need for Finance Commission under Art 280

  • It can be seen that the financial powers allocated to the states is not commensurate with the functions allocated to them. This leads to vertical imbalances in the finances of the Union and States.

  • Similarly, there are differences in the financial capacity of the individual state governments which arises due to different levels of development. This can be considered to be horizontal imbalances among the different states in India.

  • Accordingly, Article 280 mandates setting up of a Finance Commission every 5 years or at such earlier time as the President of India considers necessary.

  •  The Finance Commission has been envisaged in order to address the vertical and horizontal imbalances in the finances. The Finance Commission provides for a transfer of finances from the centre to the states (Vertical Devolution of taxes). It also provides for allocation of the states' share of taxes among the states in India (Horizontal Devolution of taxes).

  • For example, the 14th FC has provided that 42% of the taxes should be devolved to the states. For the horizontal devolution of taxes, it has adopted various parameters such as Population (1971 Census), Demographic Change (Population 2011 Census), Area of the State, Forest Cover, Income Distance.

  • (The highest weight is assigned to income distance, which is defined as the distance of actual per capita income of a state from the state with the highest per capita income. The farther a state is from the highest per capita state, the more transfers it will get from tax devolutions. )


What are the other modes of transfer of finances from the Centre to the States?

  • Transfer of the finances from Planning Commission to the States. (Prior to setting up of NITI Aayog)

  • Centrally Sponsored Schemes.

  • It is to be noted that these grants received by the states are referred to as Tied Grants i.e. the finances would have to be used by the states for the specified purpose only (mentioned by the Centre). Hence, the tied grants do not provide the operational freedom and financial autonomy to the states.

  • On the other hand, the grants received by the states from the finance commission are referred to as Untied  Grants i.e. the state government can use the finances for the purpose it deems fit. Hence, these grants provide operational freedom and financial autonomy to the states. More importantly, it helps the different state governments in addressing their local problems.


Need to have Permanent finance Commission

  • Over a period of time, Finance Commissions have adopted different approaches with regard to principles of tax devolution, grants to be given to states and fiscal consolidation issues.

  • Even though, there has to be a framework for fresh and innovative thinking by every Finance Commission; at another level, there is a need to ensure broad consistency between Finance Commissions so that there is some degree of certainty in the flow of funds to the states.

  • (For example, 14 th Finance Commission has provided for tax devolution of 42% as compared to 32% provided by 13 th Finance Commission. Further, the 14 th Finance Commission has added the parameters of Area under Forests and Demographic Change (2011 census) for the horizontal tax devolution. The fiscal discipline parameter used by 13 th Finance Commission has been done away with by 14 th Finance commission.)

  •  This has become even more critical in the post GST scenario. In other words, there has to be continuity and change between Finance Commissions.

  •  Thus, there is a need to give permanent status to the Finance Commission. The Commission can function as a leaner entity in the intervening period till the next Finance Commission is set up in a full-fledged manner. During the intervening period, it can also address issues arising from implementation of the recommendations of the Finance Commission.


Need to strengthen NITI Aayog

  • The Planning Commission was involved with transfer of finances to the states which to a certain extent were able to reduce the regional imbalances existing among the different states in India.

  •  However, the Planning Commission was replaced by NITI Aayog, which acts more like a think tank without the power of transferring finances.

  • Two problems have arisen with respect to this. Firstly, India’s Fiscal Federalism stands only on one pillar, viz., Union Finance Commission. This is a serious weakness of our present Fiscal Federalism and needs to be quickly corrected.

  •  Secondly, India has been experiencing the process of “Conditional Convergence” amongst the different States wherein the poorer states have been growing more rapidly than richer states leading to reduction in income inequality. Such conditional convergence has been possible on account of transfer of finances by the Planning Commission. Thus, there is a strong analytical case for strengthening the role of NITI Aayog with powers of allocating finances to states.

  •  In order to make the new NITI Aayog more effective, it is essential to ensure the institution is at the “High Table” of decision making of the Government. This means the Vice Chairman of the new NITI Aayog will need to be a permanent invitee of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

  •  Thus, the new NITI Aayog will make available to the highest level of policy making the knowledge-based advice and provide the national and long-term perspective on the policy proposals.






4. Mortality malady (The Hindu Page 11)   


Mains: GS II: Infant mortality rate 


Infant mortality rate


Some of the targets to be achieved under SDG 3:

  • By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live birth

  • By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births 

  •  By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being 

  • Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all 



  • Infant mortality rate (IMR) is the number of deaths per 1,000 live births of children under one year of age. 

  • Neonatal mortality rate: is the number of deaths per 1,000 live births of children under 28 days of life. 

  • Under-Five Mortality (U5MR) or child mortality is the number of deaths per 1,000 live births of children under five year of age. 

  • Maternal mortality rate: The number of registered maternal deaths due to birth- or pregnancy-related complications per 100,000 registered live births.

  • According to the just released SRS (Sample Registration System) bulletin, IMR of India has declined, from 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 to 33 per 1000 live births in 2017. 


Reasons for high mortality rates:

Which accounted for 62% of all child deaths:

  • Pneumonia

  •  Prematurity & low birth weight

  • Diarrhoeal diseases

  • Neonatal infections

  • Birth asphyxia & birth trauma






5. Reflection of faith (The Hindu Page 09)   


Mains: GS I – History and culture 


The Ambubachi Mela


About the Ambubachi Mela:

  • The Ambubachi Mela is celebrated in the capital city of Guwahati, in Assam . It is the most important festival of the Kamakhya Temple of Guwahati.”. It is believed that the presiding goddess of the temple, Devi Kamakhya, the Mother Shakti, goes through her annual cycle of menstruation during this time stretch.

  • During the Ambubachi Mela in Guwahati, the doors of the Kamakhya Temple remain closed for three days. It is believed that the Mother Earth becomes unclean for three days. During this time any kind of farming work is not taken on. Daily worships and other religious performances are also stopped during the Ambubachi Mela.

  • After the completion of three days, the doors of the Kamakhya Temple are reopened. But the doors of the temple are reopened only after Devi Kamakhya is bathed and the other rituals are executed. It is then believed that the Mother Earth has retrieved her purity. This is purely a ritual of the Tantrik cult.


  • It is celebrated every year during the monsoon season, which happens to fall in around the middle of the month of June. The beginning date of Ambubachi Mela is June.


About Kamakhya Temple:

  • It is a Hindu temple dedicated to the mother goddess Kamakhya.

  • It is one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Pithas.

  • it is situated on the Nilachal Hill in Guwahati city of Assam, India.

  • The current structural temple was built and renovated many times in the period 8th-17th century, which gave rise to a hybrid indigenous style of architecture, that is sometimes called the Nilachal type.

  •  It is a temple with a hemispherical dome on a cruciform base


Commom Service Centres


What to study?

For prelims and mains: CSCs- establishments, need, functioning and significance.


ContextNSIC signs MoU with Commom Service Centres– eGovernance Services India for enhancing new offerings for the MSME sector.


What are CSCs?

Common Services Centers (CSCs) are a strategic cornerstone of the Digital India programme. They are the access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India, thereby contributing to a digitally and financially inclusive society.

They are multiple-services-single-point model for providing facilities for multiple transactions at a single geographical location. They are the access points for delivery of essential public utility services, social welfare schemes, healthcare, financial, education and agriculture services, apart from host of B2C services to citizens in rural and remote areas of the country.


CSCs enable the three vision areas of the Digital India programme:

  1. Digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen.
  2. Governance and services on demand.
  3. Digital empowerment of citizens.


Significance of CSCs:

CSCs are more than service delivery points in rural India. They are positioned as change agents, promoting rural entrepreneurship and building rural capacities and livelihoods. They are enablers of community participation and collective action for engendering social change through a bottom-up approach with key focus on the rural citizen.


Key facts:

  • The CSC project, which forms a strategic component of the National eGovernance Plan was approved by the Government in May 2006, as part of its commitment in the National Common Minimum Programme to introduce e-governance on a massive scale.
  • It is also one of the approved projects under the Integrated Mission Mode Projects of the National eGovernance Plan.


CSC 2.0 Scheme:

Based on the assessment of CSC scheme, the Government launched the CSC 2.0 scheme in 2015 to expand the outreach of CSCs to all Gram Panchayats across the country. Under CSC 2.0 scheme, at least one CSC will be set up in each of the 2.5 lakh GPs across the country by 2019. CSCs functioning under the existing scheme will also be strengthened and integrated with additional 1.5 lakh CSCs across the country.


Relevant articles from various news sources:

Paper 3:

Topics covered:

  1. Issues related to infrastructure and roadways.


National Freight Index


What to study?

For prelims and mains: key features, need for and significance of NFI.


Context: In its bid to bring transparency in the road-freight marketplace, Gurgaon-based tech-enabled logistics start-up Rivigo has launched National Freight Index (NFI) that will provide live freight rates for different lanes and vehicles across the country.


About NFI:

  • This first-of-its-kind barometer of the road freight market in India is based on a Rivigo rate exchange.
  • NFI gives a live spot rate on over 7 million lane and vehicle type combinations in the country.
  • NFI offers an aggregated picture of both live rates and historical trends of spot price movements in the road freight industry.
  • The index is represented in two main forms: In terms of actual freight rates condensed to INR per ton-km and in terms of relative movement with respect to a base month.
  • Both the index and the exchange are based on Rivigo’s machine learning and economics powered pricing algorithms, which are continuously improving on accuracy.
  • The rates on the exchange and index are computed using millions of data points from historical transactions, current market dynamics, micro market insights and other factors – with the ultimate purpose of giving a fair and precise representation of the state of the spot market in the country.


Significance and the need for NFI:

  • In the existing logistics market structure, there are high inefficiencies due to information asymmetry, which leads to a great loss of value.
  • NFI will enable unrestricted access and sharing of freight rate information. This will bring transparency in the market and propel the logistics sector towards efficiencies and growth.



The Indian road freight market for 2018 is estimated to be in the range of USD 150-160 billion. About USD 130-140 billion of this is the Full Truck Load (FTL) market. Within this, Rivigo estimates that the spot freight market is about USD 110-130 billion and is growing at 9%-10% per year.


Sources: the Hindu.

Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Saudi Arabia becomes 1st Arab country to get FATF membership


What to study?

For Prelims: FATF, Grey list, G7.

For Mains: What is Grey list and Black list, how are countries in the list affected?


Context: Saudi Arabia has become the first Arab country to be granted full membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) following the group’s annual general meeting in the US.

  • The kingdom’s accession came as the global money laundering watchdog celebrated the 30th anniversary of its first meeting held in Paris in 1989.
  • Saudi Arabia had received an invitation from the FATF at the beginning of 2015 to join as an “observer member“.


About FATF:

What is it? The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.  It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas. The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

Objectives: The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

Functions: The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally.  In collaboration with other international stakeholders, the FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse.


What is blacklist and grey list?

FATF maintains two different lists of countries: those that have deficiencies in their AML/CTF regimes, but they commit to an action plan to address these loopholes, and those that do not end up doing enough. The former is commonly known as grey list and latter as blacklist.

Once a country is blacklisted, FATF calls on other countries to apply enhanced due diligence and counter measures, increasing the cost of doing business with the country and in some cases severing it altogether.


Sources: the Hindu.

Paper 2:

Topics covered: 

  1. Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.


Removal of Judges


What to study?

For prelims and mains: Removal of High Court judges- procedure, constitutional provisions, issues associated and the need for relevant judicial reforms.


Context: Months after an in-house panel found an Allahabad High Court judge, Justice S.N. Shukla, guilty of misconduct, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate a motion for his removal.


Removal of Judges:

Article 124(4) and the Judges Inquiry Act 1968 determine the procedure of removal of the judges:

  • motion of impeachment addressed to the President is to be signed by at least 100 members of the Lok Sabha or 50 members of the Rajya Sabha and then delivered to the Speaker of Lok Sabha or the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
  • The motion is to be investigated by a Committee of 3 judges of the Supreme Court and a distinguished jurist.
  • If the Committee finds the judge guilty of misbehavior or that he suffers from incapacity, the motion along with the report of the committee is taken up for consideration in the House where motion was moved.
  • The judge is then removed by the requisite majority, i.e. majority of total and 2/3 of its members present and voting.


Key facts:

  • A member of the higher judiciary, which means the Judges and Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of India and the state High Courts, can be removed from service only through the process of impeachment under Article 124 (4) of the Constitution.
  • A judge is removable from his office, only on the grounds of proved misbehavior or incapacity.
  • Parliament is empowered to regulate the procedure for the investigation and proof of such misbehavior or incapacity.
  • A judge may be removed from his office only by an order of the president.


Issues present and the need for reforms:

  • Method pursued by the legislature in the Act of 1968 falls abysmally short of the mark as the same makes judges susceptible to a political process of voting which may or may not impeach judges despite a 3-member committee holding the Judge guilty. Such an event is a travesty of natural justice as there is propensity for a ‘guilty’ judge to be let off on the whims of a political process of voting
  • Entire process concerns of a possibility of harming judicial independence. This stems from a possibility of Judges being harassed to toe the ideology of a party in majority or face their wrath in an impending motion of impeachment.
  • The words “misbehaviour” or “incapacity” have neither been defined nor clarified in the Constitution.
  • The process of removing a judge is too elaborate and somewhat cumbersome.


Sources: the Hindu.


Facts for Prelims:


DD Distributes Free Dish Set Top Boxes in J&K:

Context: Country’s national broadcaster Doordarshan has distributed Free Dish Set Top Boxes in Jammu and Kashmir. This Set Top Boxes will be provided free of cost and the audience will be able to view 100 channels for free in the state.

DD Free Dish is the biggest direct-to-home (DTH) operator in the country with 3.5 crore connections.


Odisha flood hazard atlas:

ContextOdisha has come out with a unique flood hazard atlas on the basis of historic flood inundation captured through satellite imagery over the period from 2001 to 2018, which is expected to help the State manage floods more efficiently.

The National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Hyderabad had taken the study on flood hazard zonation for Odisha.

Background: Vast areas of the State are inundated when there is flooding every year in major rivers, namely, the Mahanadi, Brahmani, Baitarani, Subarnarekha and Rushikulya. Some of the rivers like, the Vamsadhara and Budhabalanga, also cause flash floods due to instant run-off from their hilly catchments.


Centrally-controlled Air Traffic Flow Management (C-AFTM) system:

ContextAirports Authority of India (AAI) is working towards the implementation of a Centrally-controlled Air Traffic Flow Management (C-AFTM) system across country’s airspace and major airports, particularly those with high traffic density, in its bid to cut travel time for fliers.

What is it?

The new system would integrate data from airlines, airports and air-traffic agencies and inform airlines about the time planes will be parked at the destination airport well before departure.

The system is primarily meant to address the balancing of capacity against the demand to achieve optimum utilization of the major resources such as airport, airspace and aircraft at every Indian airport where there is a capacity constraint.


Device to trap ocean plastic relaunches:

A floating device designed to catch plastic waste has been redeployed in a second attempt to clean up an island of trash swirling in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii.

It is part of the Ocean Cleanup Project.

Ocean currents concentrate plastic in five areas in the world: the subtropical gyres, also known as the world’s “ocean garbage patches”.

The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organization, developing advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.


Arogyapacha (Trichopus zeylanicus):

Context: Scientists from the University of Kerala have decoded the genetic make-up of Arogyapacha (Trichopus zeylanicus), a highly potent medicinal plant endemic to the Agasthya hills

This ‘miracle plant’ is known for its traditional use by the Kani tribal community to combat fatigue.

Studies have also proved its varied spectrum of pharmacological properties such as anti-oxidant, aphrodisiac, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-tumour, anti-ulcer, anti-hyperlipidemic, hepatoprotective and anti-diabetic.


Saudi launches residency scheme to boost revenue:

Saudi Arabia has launched a new special residency scheme aimed at luring wealthy expats as it seeks to boost non-oil revenue.

The scheme offers a permanent residency for 800,000 riyals ($213,000) and a one-year renewable residency costing 100,000 riyals ($27,000), according to the online portal for registrations.

The scheme will allow expats to do business without a Saudi sponsor, buy property and sponsor visas for relatives.


Nepalese nationals require visa to enter India via Pak, China:

Context: Nepalese nationals must hold a Indian visa if they are entering India from Pakistan, China, Hong Kong and Macau, according to a notice issued by the Nepalese Embassy in New Delhi. Similarly, Nepalese nationals travelling to Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Lebanon, are required to acquire a ‘no objection certificate’ from the respective Nepalese Embassies.

Summaries of important Editorials:


A stable planet: on World Population Prospects 2019 report:

Context: As per the report, India is projected to become the most populous country by 2027 surpassing China, and host 1.64 billion people by 2050; the world as a whole could be home to 8.5 billion people in just over a decade from now, and the number could go up to 9.7 billion by mid-century.


New challenges for India:

India will have a vast number of young people and insufficient natural resources left for exploitation.

At the national level, achieving a reduction in fertility rates in States such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh — which are high as per Sample Registration System data — is a challenge for India as it seeks to stabilise population growth.


Need of the hour:

Stabilise population numbers by raising the quality of life of people, and achieve sustainable development that will not destroy the environment.

State governments must singularly focus on improving education and health access for women, both of which will help them be gainfully employed.

A growing population of older adults is a certainty, and it opens up prospects for employment in many new services catering to them.

Urban facilities have to be reimagined, with an emphasis on access to good, affordable housing and mobility.

The progress in poverty reduction, greater equality, better nutrition, universal education and health care, needs state support and strong civil society institutions.

Making agriculture remunerative and keeping food prices stable are crucial to ensure nutrition for all.


Why South Asia must cooperate?

Significance of South Asia:

Covers only about 3.5% of the world’s land surface area but hosts a fourth of its population, making it a region of significant importance for international development.


Challenges present:

  • It is one of the world’s least integrated regions.
  • Intra-regional trade is a meagre 5% of the total trade these countries do globally, while intra-regional investment is less than 1% of the region’s overall global investment.
  • South Asia’s average GDP per capita is only about 9.64% of the global average. Accounting for more than 30% of the world’s poor, the region faces myriad economic and environmental challenges.
  • While the countries share a host of common development challenges, economic cooperation remains less than adequate.
  • Most South Asian countries have made good progress in ending extreme poverty, but they face persistent challenges to goals related to industry, innovation and infrastructure, zero hunger, gender equality, education, sustainable cities and communities and decent work and economic growth. Most of South Asia continues to be vulnerable to climate change and climate-induced natural disasters.
  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the platform for regional economic cooperation in this region, has become moribund and remains unsuccessful in promoting regional economic cooperation.


What needs to be done?

  • regional strategic approach to tackle common development challenges can bring enormous benefits to South Asia. SDGs related to energy, biodiversity, infrastructure, climate resilience and capacity development are transnational, and here policy harmonisation can play a pivotal role in reducing duplication and increasing efficiency.
  • To address institutional and infrastructural deficits, South Asian countries need deeper regional cooperation.
  • On financing the SDGs in South Asia, countries can work towards increasing the flow of intra-regional FDI. The private sector too can play a vital role in resource mobilisation.