Core sector output shrinks 2.6% in Nov.

Paper:

Mains: G.S. III Indian Economy

Why in news?

Output from India’s eight core sectors hit a three-month low in November, contracting 2.6%  in the festive month, suggesting the economy is still not out of the woods.

Key details

  • Coal, fertilizers and electricity the only sectors to record positive growth.
  • The good news is that the Index of Eight Core Industries was revised upwards for both August and October.
  • Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index that shows the performance of different industrial sectors of the Indian economy.
  • The IIP is estimated and published by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) .
  • Following are the three sectors of the IIP as per the revision based on 2011-12
  • Mining
  • Manufacturing and
  • Electricity
  • In the new base year (i.e. 2011-12), the 407 item groups are divided under three sectors i.e. Mining (1 item group), Manufacturing (405 item groups) and Electricity (1 item) with weights of 14.37%, 77.63% and 7.99% respectively.
  • The Eight Core Industries comprise nearly 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). These are Electricity , steel, refinery products, crude oil, coal, cement, natural gas and fertilisers.

A leopard count with a missing benchmark number

Paper:

Mains: G.S. III Environment and Ecology 

Why in news?

India’s leopard population increases by 60% in 4 years according to a first of its kind report on leopard numbers in the country released recently.

Key details

  • The goal of species conservation is to protect and increase the population of the species of interest. In this direction, scientific monitoring of their current numbers, and an increase or a decrease in numbers over the years will determine whether the conservation efforts undertaken to preserve the species are bearing fruit.
  • Though the report ‘Status of leopards in India, 2018’ has depicted that the country has 12,852 leopards. This study focused mostly on forested habitats where tigers are found, as it was a by-product of the all-India tiger estimate.
  • Hence other leopard habitats such as rocky outcrops, smaller dry forests, higher elevation habitats in the Himalayas, agricultural landscapes (coffee, tea, arecanut, sugarcane plantations) where leopards are known to be found in good numbers were not a part of this exercise.
  • In general, habitat loss due to mining and quarrying, poaching for body parts, mortality due to vehicular collisions, retaliatory killing due to human-leopard conflict and accidental deaths due to snares set for catching wild prey all seem to be impacting the conservation.

Nationwide vaccine dry run tomorrow

Paper:

Mains: G.S. II Health and Social Justice

Why in news?

A dry run will be conducted by all the state governments and Union Territory administrations on January 2.

Key details

  • The objective of this dry run is to prepare for the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine across the country.
  • An important focus of the dry run will be on management of any possible adverse events following immunisation(AEFI).
  • The drill, the second within a week, is also significant because the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) is expected to take a call on giving emergency use approval to front-running vaccine candidates — Covishield from the Serum Institute of India, and Covaxin from the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech — in the next few days. The first dry run was restricted to four States — Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Punjab.
  • While most States will carry out the drill in three or more sessions in their capitals, some will choose difficult terrains and areas of poor connectivity.
  • In each of the sessions, 25 healthcare workers will participate as recipients and their data will be captured on the Co-Win platform, an electronic intelligence network set up for the mammoth Covid-19 vaccination drive, which will first cater to 30 crore healthcare and frontline workers besides vulnerable sections identified as priority groups.

Fiscal deficit shoots up to 135% of target

Paper:

Mains: G.S. III Indian Economy

Why in news?

India’s fiscal deficit shot up to 135.1% of the budget target of nearly ₹8 lakh crore for 2020-21 in the 8 months from April to November.

Key details

  • India’s federal fiscal deficit in the eight months to the end of November stood at 10.75 trillion rupees, or 135.1% of the budgeted target for the whole fiscal year, government data showed.
  • Net tax receipts were 6.88 trillion rupees, while total expenditure came to 19.06 trillion rupees, the data showed.
  • The lockdown imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus had significantly impacted business activities and, in turn, contributed to sluggish revenue realisation.
  • Government spending, together with capital expenditure thought of important to revive the economic system, remained decrease than a year earlier.
  • “The expenditure pattern suggests that expansion in fiscal deficit is not due to increased expenditure which has been muted so far. The higher fiscal deficit is primarily originating from lower receipts.”

National Calendar

Paper: Miscellaneous

Why in news?

2021 has been arrived marking the end of year 2020.

Key details

  • The national calendar is based in the Saka era, with Chaitra as it’s first month.
  • A normal year of 365 days was adopted from March 22, 1957 along with the Gregorian calendar for the following official purposes:

Gazette of India, news broadcast by AIR, calendars issued by Govt. of India, govt. communications addressed to general public.

  • Dates of national calendar have a permanent correspondence with dates of the Gregorian calendar, 1 Chaitra falling on 22