Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Himachal top India’s child well-being index
Topic : GS Paper II SOCIAL ISSUES
Child well-being index, a tool designed to measure and tracks children’s well-being comprehensively has been released.
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- The report released by the non-government organisation World Vision India and research institute IFMR LEAD.
- The report is an attempt to look at how India fairs on child well-being using a composite child well-being index.
- The India child well-being index is a crucial report that can be mined both by the Government and civil organisations to achieve the goal of child well-being and we will use this report effectively.
- This report provides insights on health, nutrition, education, sanitation and child protection.
- The dimensions of the index include healthy individual development, positive relationships and protective contexts.
- Focusing on the three key dimensions, 24 indicators were selected to develop the computation of the child well-being index.
- The report highlights the multi-dimensional approach towards measuring child well-being — going beyond mere income poverty.
Significance of the report:
- The report is important considering that 40 per cent of the country’s population is made of children between the ages of 1 and 18.
- The report, calls for States to look at their respective scores on the dimensions of child well-being, and to prepare for priority areas of intervention with specific plans of action.
- It also hopes to trigger policy level changes, seek better budgetary allocations and initiate discussions with all stakeholders, which can help in enhancing the quality of life of all children in the country.
- One of the primary objectives of this index is to garner attention to the under-researched theme of child well-being in India, and inspire further academic and policy conversations on related issues.
Performance of the states:
- Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Puducherry topped the charts in the child well-being index.
- Meghalaya, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh featured at the bottom.
- Among the Union Territories, Puducherry led the way and Dadra and Nagar Haveli featured at the other end.
- Kerala bagged the top spot due to its exceptional performance in health, nutrition and education facilities.
- Kerala also performed better in addressing malnutrition and ensuring child survival and access to a healthy environment in terms of clean drinking water and sanitation facilities.
Children have the potential to transform the country, but if neglected, they will exacerbate the burden of poverty and inequality. It is imperative that all stakeholders prioritise and invest in the well-being of children. The research has brought to the fore compelling insights on child well-being in India. Some of the key indicators that need to be studied in the future include mobile usage, digital access, financial literacy, mental health and quality of relationships per se, between parents/peers and children.
Rare tarantula sighted in Villupuram district
Topic : GS Paper III ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
Researchers have sighted a critically endangered species of tarantula for the first time beyond its known habitat in the Eastern Ghats.
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- The spider is commonly known as the Peacock Parachute Spider or Gooty Tarantula.
- It belongs to the genus Poecilotheria and is known to be endemic to India.
- It is the only blue species of the genus Poecilotheria.
- The known habitat of Peacock Parachute Spider is in degraded forests near Nandyal in Andhra Pradesh.
- The spider was spotted by a team of researchers of the Puducherry-based Indigenous Biodiversity Foundation (IBF) in the Pakkamalai Reserve Forests near Gingee in Tamil Nadu.
- The species was found at different locations in the reserve forests.
- The species had so far not been sighted in any other part of India or Sri Lanka except its known habitat in Andhra Pradesh.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has categorised it as Critically Endangered.
- Tarantulas are biological pest controllers and there is a huge demand for them by collectors in the pet trade.
Its habitat is rapidly degrading due to logging and firewood harvesting. Another threat identified by IUCN assessors is specimen collection for the pet trade. Population size is unknown, but the combination of its small natural range and the habitat threats indicate a declining population trend.
5 mn hectares of land set to be rejuvenated
Topic : GS Paper II SOCIAL ISSUES
- India for the first time will be hosting the 14th session of the Conference of Parties (COP-14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) from September 2 to 13, 2019.
- A week ahead of a United Nations conference in Delhi that will see experts from over 90 countries deliberate ways to combat desertification, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that India had committed to rejuvenate 50 lakh hectares (5 million) of degraded land between 2021 and 2030.
- India faces a severe problem of land degradation, or soil becoming unfit for cultivation.
- About 29% or about 96.4 million hectares are considered degraded.
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- It was underlined that the 5 million hectares were part of the Bonn Challenge commitment. It’s going to be combination of restoring forest land as well as cultivable land.
- In January 2019, India became part of the “Bonn Challenge”, a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.
- At the UNFCC Conference of the Parties (COP) 2015 in Paris, India also joined the voluntary Bonn Challenge and pledged to bring into restoration 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020, and an additional 8 million hectares by 2030.
- India’s pledge is one of the largest in Asia.
- Schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Soil Health Card Scheme, Soil Health Management Scheme and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana are seen as prongs to tackle this land degradation.
New guidelines are in for e-tailers
Topic : GS Paper III ECONOMY
The government is planning to come out with a national e-commerce policy to facilitate achieving holistic growth of the sector.
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- The consumer affairs ministry has decided to frame the rules to implement the Consumer Protection Act and asked stakeholders to submit their views by 15 September, 2019.
- The ministry has also sought views on the draft guidelines on e-commerce by the same date.
- The government has said that the guidelines drafted for e-commerce firms will be made mandatory under the new Consumer Protection Act.
- It is said that stringent action against violators will be taken by a regulatory authority in order to protect consumer interest.
- MP’s view that e-commerce guidelines should be incorporated as part of the rules under the new law has been accepted.
- As per the draft guidelines on e-commerce, the companies are required to submit a self-declaration to the ministry stating that it is conforming with the guideline.
- The proposed guidelines for e-commerce firms entail a 14-day deadline to effect refund request, mandate e-tailers to display details of sellers supplying goods and services on their websites and moot the procedure to resolve consumer complaints.
- Among key guidelines, the e-commerce companies will also be required to ensure that personally identifiable information of customers are protected and should not directly or indirectly influence the price of the goods or services and maintain a level playing field.
- The Consumer Protection Bill 2019, passed recently in Parliament, seeks to establish CCPA and also envisages simplified dispute resolution process, deals with ‘product liability’ and provides for stiff punishment to check misleading ads and adulteration.
- Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), will take action against violating e-commerce firms.
- The proposed rules outline that a promoter or key management personnel should not have been convicted of any criminal offence punishable with five years imprisonment.
- The companies should also comply with the provisions of IT Rules, 2011. They are also required to display on their websites details about sellers supplying goods and services.
- Guidelines require the companies to also mention safety and health care information of the goods and service advertised for sale and give information on payment methods.
- Even though the Supreme Court in 1995 had suggested strongly to protect the consumer interest in health area, at present, the health sector has been kept out of the ambit of the law.
- The move comes even as the government has tightened norms for e-commerce firms having foreign investment.
- Consumers face difficulty in holding e-commerce firms accountable in case of fake products as platforms do not disclose seller details or their general terms. These guidelines if enforced will change that.
The e-commerce sector in India has been witnessing an explosive growth fuelled by the increase in the number of online users, growing penetration of smartphones and the rising popularity of social media platforms. According to a February 2019 Morgan Stanley report, India is adding one Internet user every three seconds and the e-commerce sector in India is estimated to reach $230 billion by 2028, accounting for 10% of India’s retail.
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