Saturday, 29 October 2016

Female literacy in India

  •  According to a recently conducted research by New York-based International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, India’s school education system is under-performing in terms of quality when compared to its neighbors, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
  • The proportion of women who completed five years of primary schooling in India and were literate was 48%, much less than 92% in Nepal, 74% in Pakistan and 54% in Bangladesh.
  • Female literacy rates went up by one to 15% after completing two years of schooling. Corresponding numbers for Pakistan and Nepal were 3 to 31% and 11 to 47% respectively. This implies that schooling is roughly twice as productive at generating literacy for women during the early grades in Pakistan when compared to India.
  • India ranks 38th among the 51 developing countries. Indonesia, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania — all rank higher than India.
  • Low female literacy rate means an overall sluggish growth of India, as it impacts every arena of the development. India is struggling hard to stabilize its growing population through family planning programs. But if females are illiterate, then this has a direct and negative impact on these initiatives.
  • When a girl or a woman is not educated, it is not only she who suffers but the entire family has to bear the consequences of her illiteracy. It has been found out that illiterate women face more hardships in life than literate ones. They have high levels of fertility as well as mortality; they suffer from malnutrition and all other related health problems.
  • Lack of education means lack of awareness. Illiterate women are not aware of their rights. They know nothing about initiatives taken by the government for their welfare. Illiterate women keep on struggling hard and bear harshness of life, family and even their husbands.
  • There are many reasons behind the low literacy among women in India. The negative attitude of parents towards the girl child and her education is one of the major reasons of low female literacy rate in India. In most of the families, boys at home are given priority in terms of education but girls are not treated in the same way.
  • Poverty is the root cause of many problems in India and also of low female literacy rate.
  • Another barrier to female education in India is the lack of female teachers. As India is a gender segregated society, it is a very important factor in the low female literacy rate in India.
  • But in spite of all reasons, women must understand and realize that education can actually end the vivacious cycle of poverty, their misfortune, so that they can live a life with pride. In case of any misfortune in life, it is education that would help her, not anything else. The government should really work towards the number, distance and quality of schools in rural as well as urban India. We should encourage the girl child in getting education to create a balanced and an educated society

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Capital account Convertibility

  •  The government is not yet ready for full capital account convertibility even though former governor of RBI Raghuram rajan had said the central bank was looking at bringing in capital account convertibility in a few years.
  • India currently has full convertibility of the rupee in current accounts such as for exports and imports. However, India’s capital account convertibility is not full. There are ceilings on government and corporate debt, external commercial borrowings and equity.
About Capital account convertibility:
  • Capital Account Convertibility means that the currency of a country can be converted into foreign exchange without any controls or restrictions. In other words, Indians can convert their Rupees into Dollars or Euros and Vice Versa without any restrictions placed on them. The reason why it is called capital account convertibility is that the conversion of domestic currencies into foreign currencies is allowed in the capital account and not only the current account.
  • Capital account refers to expenditures and investments in hard assets, physical premises, and factories as well as investments in land and other capital-intensive items
  • Full capital account convertibility opens up the country’s markets to global players, including investors, businesses and trade partners. This allows easy access to capital for different businesses and sectors, positively impacting a nation’s economy.
  • Opening up to fully convertible currency is a solid sign that a country and its markets are stable and mature enough to handle free and unrestricted movement of the capital, which attracts investments making the economy better.
  • With increased participation from global players, new businesses, strategic partnerships and direct investments flourish. It also helps in creating new employment opportunities across various industry sectors, as well as nurturing entrepreneurship for new businesses.
  • Sectors like insurance, fertilizers, retail, etc. have restrictions on foreign direct investments. Full convertibility will open the doors of many big international players to invest in these sectors, enabling much-needed reforms and bringing variety to the Indian masses.
  • Indian businesses will be able to issue foreign currency-denominated debt to local Indian investors.
  • Indian businesses will be able to hold foreign currency deposits in local Indian banks for capital requirements.
  • Indian banks will be able to borrow/lend to foreign banks in foreign currencies.
  • Amid a lack of suitable regulatory control and rates subject to open markets with large number of global market participants, high levels of volatility, devaluation or inflation in forex rates may happen, challenging the country’s economy.
  • Businesses can easily raise foreign debt, but they are prone to the risk of high repayments if exchange rates become unfavorable
  • A rising unregulated rupee makes Indian exports less competitive in the international markets. Export-oriented economies like India and China prefer to keep their exchanges rates lower to retain the low-cost advantage.
  • Full capital account convertibility has worked well in well-regulated nations that have a robust infrastructure in place. India’s basic challenges—high dependence on exports, burgeoning population, corruption, socio-economic complexities and challenges of bureaucracy—may lead to economic setbacks post-full rupee convertibility.

H5 Avian Influenza

  •  The Centre formed a three-member committee to keep a close watch on the bird flu situation even as over 40 avian deaths have been reported in the national capital.
  • This is formed after the reports of mortality among the birds in National Zoological Park, Delhi NCR and other parts of the country due to H5 avian influenza virus.
About Avian influenza:
  • Avian influenza (AI), commonly called bird flu, is an infectious viral disease of birds.
  • Most avian influenza viruses do not infect humans; however some, such as A(H5N1) and A(H7N9), have caused serious infections in people.
  • Outbreaks of AI in poultry may raise global public health concerns due to their effect on poultry populations, their potential to cause serious disease in people, and their pandemic potential.
  • The majority of human cases of A(H5N1) and A(H7N9) infection have been associated with direct or indirect contact with infected live or dead poultry. There is no evidence that the disease can be spread to people through properly cooked food.
  • The A(H5N1) virus subtype, a highly pathogenic AI virus, first infected humans in 1997 during a poultry outbreak in Hong Kong SAR, China. Since its widespread re-emergence in 2003 and 2004, this avian virus has spread from Asia to Europe and Africa and has become entrenched in poultry in some countries, resulting in millions of poultry infections, several hundred human cases, and many human deaths. Outbreaks in poultry have seriously impacted livelihoods, the economy and international trade in affected countries.
  • The A(H7N9) virus subtype is a low pathogenic AI virus.
How H5N8 is transmitted among birds?
  • Though wild birds can normally carry avian influenza viruses in their respiratory tracts they do not commonly get sick. The virus can spread among birds through direct contact with secretions from infected birds, contaminated feed, water, equipment, and human clothing and shoes. They can also transmit through movement of domestic live birds, people (through contaminated shoes and clothing), contaminated vehicles, equipment, feed and cages.
Control measures
  • Culling is usually undertaken to control the infection when it is detected in animals. Besides culling, safe disposal of all such culled animals and animal products is also important. The authorities also need to strictly enforce decontamination of infected premises and undertake quarantine of contaminated vehicles and personnel

Kashmir’s Red Stag

  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is going to declare the Kashmiri Red Stag (also known as Hangul) as a Critically Endangered species.
  • The critically endangered status to the Kashmiri Red Stag will help it to get more protection and enhance the conservation efforts to increase its rapidly declining population.
About Kashmiri Red Stag or hangul:
  • Known for its giant antlers bearing 11 to 16 points, Hangul has been hunted over centuries and its habitat destroyed, leading to its population in the wild plunging to a mere 150.
  • Historically, the Hangul was distributed in the mountains of Himalaya, Kashmir, Chenab Valley and Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh.
  • However, there is only one viable population left today in the wild, which is largely confined to the Greater Dachigam Landscape (1,000, encompassing the Dachigam National Park (NP) and adjoining protected areas.
  • It is listed under Schedule-I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and J&K Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1978 and has also been listed among the top 15 species of high conservation priority by the Government of India.
About Critically endangered species:
  • Critically endangered species are those that are almost extinct in the wild. Their numbers have become so few that they may have trouble breeding to keep the entire species viable without help from conservationists. In other words, they cannot find mates to produce young, or they take such a long time to mature that they often die before they can reproduce. By capturing members of the wild population to raise them in captivity and breed them there for later release back into the wild, conservationists try to keep the species alive.
About IUCN:
  • It was founded in 1948. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is a leading non-governmental authority on the environment and sustainable development. It is also involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, lobbying and education. 

Monday, 24 October 2016

Marine resources in India

The third largest and gifted ocean on the world ‘Indian Ocean’ surrounds India on three sides. Very few of us are aware of the treasures that surround us. These marine resources are found in the oceans and seas. These are beneficial to humans. Resources include fish, coral reefs, fungi, minerals, etc. 
Ocean resources represent wide range of resources present in it. Typically they are classified into 2 broad categories Biotic and abiotic resources. 
Biotic resources comprise of fishes, seaweeds, planktons, sharks, turtles, marine mammals, etc. 
Abiotic resources are sea mounds, energy resources (crude oil, natural gas), deposits (gold, red clay, manganese) and other dissolved elements (sodium chloride).
India has all different types of Marine Ecosystems present in the world. Zoological survey of India elaborated different ecosystems present in the ocean.
  1. Coral Ecosystem-Most dynamic ecosystem provides shelter and food to thousands o marine flora and fauna.
  2. Mangrove Ecosystem- It reduces coastal erosion, a source of wood products, and a nursery ground for marine products.
  3. Estuary ecosystem- Help in large scale of fishery wealth. It acts as a feeding and nursery ground for several marine spices.
  4. Seaweed ecosystem- seaweed contains many trace elements, minerals, protein, iodine, vitamin, etc. The food products like jelly, jam, pickle are manufactured.
  5. Pelagic Ecosystem-Most productive ecosystem in the marine ecosystem; maximum diversity is reported to occur in this region; sensitive to most environmental changes. Pelagic is upper portion of the sea water column where in different types marine organisms live
  6. Benthic Ecosystem- Productivity is relatively less to pelagic ecosystem; diversity is minimum, marine animals prefer this ecosystem. The Benthic ecosystem is the deeper part of the ocean where the sun light cannot reach. Even in the deepest ocean where light cannot reach millions of animals, bacteria live.
The tidal (low and high) zone is very important for organisms they live both in soil, water and need sunlight. In addition to it, tidal energy is itself a resource used by man to generate power. Another very important non extractable and commercial resource is navigable routes. This resource has expanded with the growingtechnological capabilities.
However, there are some common threats to marine ecosystem such as invasive alien species, overfishing, climate change, population, poverty, cyclone, tsunami, and earth quake and illiteracy are the major causes for decline in marine ecosystem.
India’s first research institute ‘National center for Marine and Biodiversity’ emphasis on coastal and marine area management and ensure sustainable development and hazard risk management. 
All Indian Ocean Rim countries struggle with same issues and a lot of conservation effort is required to protect these resources. A common regional framework should be made to solve common problems.