An Unequal Platter :-
- Maharashtra which is one of India’s richest States has lack of development which is seen in its unacceptably high level of malnutrition among children in the tribal belts.
- State’s per capita income has doubled since 2004 but its nutritional status has not made commensurate progress.
A comparison :-
A comparison of nutrition indicators for children under five years, using the third and fourth rounds of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015–2016 and 2005-06, shows this –
- Stunting has declined from 46.3% to 34.4%,
- Wasting rates have increased from 16.5% to 25.6%.
- Underweight rate (36%) has remained static in the last 10 years. This is worse than in some of the world’s poorest countries — Bangladesh (33%), Afghanistan (25%) or Mozambique (15%).
- Every second tribal child suffers from growth restricting malnutrition due to chronic hunger.
This level of poor nutrition security disproportionately affects the poorest segment of the population.
Stunting :- Stunting is the impaired growth and development or reduced growth rate that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psycho-social stimulation. Stunting is caused by an insufficient intake of macro- and micro-nutrients. Wasting :- It is defined as low weight for height results from acute malnutrition and frequent infections such as measles, diarrhoea, pneumonia, meningitis, malaria and other forms of fevers
Palghar :- Results from a survey
- In 2005, child malnutrition claimed as many as 718 lives in Maharashtra’s Palghar district alone.
- In September 2016, the National Human Rights Commission issued notice to the Maharashtra government over reports of 600 children dying due to malnutrition in Palghar.
- The government responded, promising to properly implement schemes such as Jaccha Baccha and Integrated Child Development Services to check malnutrition.
The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme was launched with the objectives :- = To improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years = To lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child = To reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout = To achieve effective co-ordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments to promote child development = To enhance the capability of the mother to look after the normal health and nutritional needs of the child through proper nutrition and health education.
Independent survey conducted in Vikramgad block of the district last year found that
- 57% of children in this block were stunted
- 21% of children in this block were wasted and
- 53% of children in this block were underweight
- 27% were severely stunted.
Note :- It is generally accepted that recovery from growth retardation after two years is only possible if the affected child is put on a diet that is adequate in nutrient requirements.
Scant diet diversity :-
What is Diet Diversity & How it is calculated ?
A critical aspect of nutrient adequacy is diet diversity. Diet Diversity is calculated by different groupings of foods consumed with the reference period ranging from one to 15 days.
Reality of Households in Vikramgad :-
- In most households it was rice and dal which was cooked most often and eaten thrice a day. These were even served at teatime to the children if they felt hungry.
- There was no milk, milk product or fruit in their daily diets. Even the adults drank black tea as milk was not affordable.
- Only 17% of the children achieved a minimum level of diet diversity — they received four or more of the food groups.
Why there is a lot of Food Insecurity in Tribal Households ?
- Due to a loss of their traditional dependence on forest livelihood
- The State’s deepening agrarian crisis.
- Systemic issues and a weakening of public nutrition programmes have aggravated the problem. For example, 20% of tribal families did not receive rations (public distribution system) in Vikramgad (in Palghar) as they did not have a aadhaar card.
- Analysis of the State’s Budget shows that the nutrition expenditure as a percentage of the State Budget has drastically declined from 1.68% in 2012-13 to 0.94% in 2018-19
Way forward :- It is time the government looks at the root cause of the issue and finds a sustainable solution for tackling malnutrition. This is possible only when the state focuses on inclusive development by creating employment opportunities for the marginalised which would improve their purchasing power and, in turn, reduce malnutrition.
(Source :- The Hindu )
Reduce & Segregate :-
- Maharashtra’s ban on several consumer articles made of plastic, introduced after a three-month notice period to industry and users, is an extreme measure.
- India hosted this year’s World Environment Day and Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a high-profile pledge, to international acclaim, that it would do away with all single-use plastics by 2022.
What are the problems in reducing plastic waste in India ?
- This goal is not yet backed by an action plan so that State governments and local bodies can be in sync & India has an uninspiring record when it comes to handling waste. It has patchy data on volumes, and even less on what it recycles.
- Segregation at source has not taken off, as there is little awareness, official support or infrastructure.
- India’s plastic waste — estimated officially at 26,000 tonnes a day — is being dumped in the oceans
Worldwide, the problem has got out of hand, with only 9% of about 9 billion tonnes of plastic produced getting recycled.
What needs to be done to fight plastic waste ?
- Need to to segregate plastic at source.
- The Urban Development Secretary in each State, who heads the monitoring committee under the rules, should be mandated to produce a monthly report on how much plastic waste is collected, including details of the types of chemicals involved, and the disposal methods.
- Priority should be given to stop the generation of mixed waste, which prevents recovery of plastics.
- Companies covered by extended producer responsibility provisions must be required to take back their waste.
- Incentives to reduce the use of plastic carry bags, single-use cups, plates and cutlery must be in place.
- Retailers must be required to switch to paper bags. Potentially, carry bag production using cloth can create more jobs than machines using plastic pellets.
Centre cannot guarantee power supply to all villages :-
The Centre has claimed 100% electrification of all villages and 83% of all households across the country. It has said that all households will be electrified by the year-end But the power ministry officials are saying that they cannot guarantee the supply of electricity to them.
Centre claims State DISCOMS be responsible for power supply in rural areas
- While it is the Centre’s responsibility to connect households and villages to the power grid or provide them alternative sources of electricity, now they are saying it cannot guarantee the supply of electricity to them.
- The actual supply is the responsibility of the power distribution companies in each State
Discrepancies in claims :-
- In some cases, the electrification infrastructure such as cables and transformers were stolen days after they were installed, leaving the target village un-electrified in reality but connected on paper.
- In other cases, electricity was supplied for just a few hours a day.
Rampant power cuts
- Despite the government pegging India as a power surplus nation, almost every State in the country reels under power cuts, especially during peak summer.
Revenue Loss :-
- Discoms are still very inefficient, with the costs they incur in the transmission far outweighing revenue.
- Government data show discoms across the country, on an average, lose ₹0.22 a unit of electricity supplied.
However, the Power Ministry has claimed that this situation is improving rapidly under the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY).
- Power Minister recently said that discom losses have drastically reduced to ₹17,352 crore in 2017-18 from ₹51,096 crore in the previous year.
Discoms Performance :- While the performance of discoms is improving, they are still not at the performance level to supply electricity 24×7 because :-
- The first is their financial health. Most of them are not financially capable to do this.
- Secondly, only some of the discoms have the infrastructure to supply good quality power on a sustained basis.
But if the respective State governments continue to give financial support and assurances to the discoms, then this could definitely improve.
India Seychelles talk of ‘mutual welfare’ on Assumption Island Project :-
- The Assumption island has been at the centre of high profile maritime diplomacy between India and Seychelles, which was boosted with Prime Minister Modi’s 2015 visit.
U-turn on Assumption Islands :-
- National Assembly of Seychelles last week refused to ratify the naval base that India has been planning to build on the island of Assumption.
- It is not clear how both sides would take the project forward in the absence of a parliamentary ratification.
Enhancing cooperation through security and infrastructure
- PM Modi announced several initiatives for the strategically located country that included the grant of a major Line of Credit (LoC) for the purchase of defense hardware of $100 million.
- He also declared that both sides would intensify cooperation to carry out hydrographical studies of the maritime region and have declared exchange of necessary oceanic maps between two sides.
- India also gifted a Dornier aircraft to Seychelles.
- India is ready to finance three civilian infrastructure projects in Seychelles under Special Grant. Government House, New Police Headquarters and the Office of the Attorney General is included in this.
- Seychelles will soon be celebrating the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the Indian origin people to the archipelago.
- Visiting Seychelles President gifted two large Aldabra turtles that are unique and are known to live for centuries.
- Both sides sealed six agreements including one that will twin Panjim in Goa with Victoria of Seychelles.