Daily Current Affairs for 22nd November 2022

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GS PAPER 1: Demography of India

Important for

Prelims Exam: Data about Population

Mains Exam: Comparison of Demography between India & China

Why in News?

In 2022, China will for the first time register an absolute decline in its population. And in 2023, India’s population, projected by the United Nations to reach 1,428.63 million, will surpass China’s 1,425.67 million.

Two primary drivers of population change

Mortality and fertility

Mortality falls with increased education levels, public health and vaccination programmes, access to food and medical care, and provision of safe drinking water and sanitation facilities.

  • The crude death rate (CDR): The number of persons dying per year per 1,000 population
    • 23.2 for China and
    • 22.2 for India in 1950.
    • It fell to single digits for China first in 1974 (to 9.5) and for India in 1994 (9.8), and further to 7.3-7.4 for both in 2020.
  • Another mortality indicator is life expectancy at birth.
    • Between 1950 and 2020, it went up from 43.7 to 78.1 years for China and from 41.7 to 70.1 years for India.
  • Reduction in mortality normally leads to a rising population. A drop in fertility, on the other hand, slows down population growth, ultimately resulting in absolute declines.
  • The total fertility rate (TFR) : The number of babies an average woman bears over her lifetime was as high as 5.8 for China and 5.7 for India in 1950.

Total Fertility Rate


  • TFR has fallen for India in the last three decades.
  • Between 1992-93 and 2019-21, it came down from 3.4 to 2the fall was especially significant in the rural areas.
  • In 1992-93, the average rural Indian woman produced one extra child compared to her urban counterpart (3.7 versus 2.7).
  • By 2019-21, that gap had halved (2.1 versus 1.6).
A TFR of 2.1 is considered as “replacement-level fertility”. Simply understood, a woman having two children basically replaces herself and her partner with two new lives. Since all infants may not survive to realise their reproductive potential, the replacement TFR is taken at slightly above two. It ensures that each generation replaces itself.

  • The TFR is the average number of births by women aged 15-49 based on surveys for a particular period/year. Populations can keep growing even with TFRs falling.
  • De-growth requires TFRs to remain below replacement levels for extended periods. The effects of that fewer children today becoming parent’s tomorrow and procreating just as much or less may reflect only after a couple of generations.
  • China’s TFR dipped below replacement first in 1991, which was almost 30 years before India’s.
  • Recall that the CDR decline below 10, too, happened two decades earlier for China.
  • Not surprising, China’s population more than doubled from 544 million in 1950 to 1.1 billion in 1987 underpinned by falling CDRs and continued to grow, peaking at 1,426 million in 2021.
  • It took over 30 years for below-replacement fertility rates to translate into negative population growth.

China faces a crisis

  • China’s TFR, according to its 2020 Census, was 1.3 births per woman marginally up from the 1.2 in the 2010 and 2000 censuses, but way below the replacement rate of 2.1. China officially ended its one-child policy, introduced in 1980, from 2016.
  • The UN, nevertheless, projects its total population at 1.31 billion in 2050, a 113 million-plus drop from the 2021 peak.
  • The real crisis for China, however, is the decline in its population that is of prime working age.
  • The proportion of the population aged between 20 and 59 years crossed 50% in 1987 and peaked at 61.5% in 2011.
    • This period also coincided with high economic growth, with China successfully harnessing the “demographic dividend” that comes from a young labour force.
    • If there is a large population that’s able to work and earn, not only will there be relatively fewer people to support those too old or too young but also greater tax revenues and savings potential from the generation of incomes.
    • As these are directed to finance investments, a virtuous cycle of growth is unleashed as indeed it happened in China.
    • But that cycle has started to reverse, and the share of China’s working-age population is projected to fall below 50% by 2045.
  • In absolute terms, the decline would be from a high of 839 million in 2014 to hardly 604 million in 2050.
  • Moreover, the average (median) age of the population, which was 28.9 years in 2000 and 37.4 years in 2020, is expected to soar to 50.7 years by 2050.
  • In short, China faces the prospect of a dwindling labour force having to support a rapidly aging population.

India has an opportunity


  • India has just begun seeing fertility rates fall to replacement levels, including in rural areas.
  • The latter has to do with the spread of education and, perhaps, also farm mechanisation and fragmentation of landholdings.
  • Reduced labour requirement in agricultural operations and smaller holdings make it that much less necessary to have large families working the land.
  • But even with fertility rate declines, India’s population is projected to expand and de-grow only after touching 1.7 billion about 40 years from now.
  • More important is the working-age population: its share in the overall population crossed 50% only in 2007, and will peak at 57% towards the mid-2030s.

Workforce in Agriculture


  • Agriculture accounted for around 65% of the country’s employed labour force in 1993-94.
  • That share fell significantly to 49% by 2011-12.

First suicide prevention policy

GS Paper: 2- Government policies and interventions

Important for

Prelims exam: National Suicide Prevention Strategy

Mains exam: Suicide cases in India

Why in News?

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday announced a National Suicide Prevention Strategy, the first of its kind in the country, with time-bound action plans and multi-sectoral collaborations to achieve reduction in suicide mortality by 10% by 2030.

About suicide prevention policy

  • The policy broadly seeks to establish effective surveillance mechanisms for suicide within the next three years.
  • It will establish psychiatric outpatient departments that will provide suicide prevention services through the District Mental Health Programme in all districts within the next five years.
  • It will integrate a mental well-being curriculum in all educational institutions within the next eight years.
  • It envisages developing guidelines for responsible media reporting of suicides, and restricting access to means of suicide.
  • The stress is on developing community resilience and societal support for suicide prevention.
  • While the strategy is in line with the WHO’s South East-Asia Region Strategy for suicide prevention, it says it will remain true to India’s cultural and social milieu.

What is Suicide?

  • When someone kills themself intentionally in an attempt to end their life, it is considered as suicide.
  • When someone makes an effort to commit suicide but does not succeed, it is considered as attempt to suicide.

About Suicide cases in India

  • In India, more than one lakh lives are lost every year to suicide.
  • In the past three years, the suicide rate has increased from 10.2 to 11.3 per 1,00,000 population, the document records.
  • The most common reasons for suicide include family problems and illnesses, which account for 34% and 18% of all suicide-related deaths.

Legal status of suicide in India

  • No person “should be deprived of his life or personal liberty unless in accordance with the method established by law,” states Article 21 of the Indian constitution. The “right to die” is not protected by the constitution, which only protects the rights to life and liberty.
  • According to Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), anyone who attempts suicide or takes any action that contributes to the commission of such an offence faces a sentence of simple imprisonment for a term that may extend to one year or with fine or both.
  • It should be emphasised that Section 306 IPC covers aiding in the commission of suicide (but not in the attempt to commit suicide), and Section 305 IPC covers aiding in the suicide of a child.
  • Despite anything in section 309 of the IPC, any person who attempts suicide shall be presumed, unless proven otherwise, to be under severe stress and shall not be tried or punished under the said Code, according to section 115 (1) of the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017.
  • However, only people with mental illnesses are covered by this regulation. In the event that a suicide attempt is made, there is a presumption of extreme stress.

Initiative taken by India

  • KIRAN: A 24/7 toll-free helpline has been established by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to assist those who are struggling with depression, suicide thoughts, anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues.
  • Mental Healthcare Act 2017:
  • It succeeded the Mental Health Act of 1987 and went into effect in May 2018. It was passed in 2017.
  • The act decriminalised suicide attempts in India, much to the relief of most Indian medical professionals and mental health advocates.
  • The act’s “advanced directives” provision, which permitted people with mental illnesses to choose their own treatment plan and choose a representative, was its most important feature.
  • Finally establishing measures to combat stigma in Indian society, it also restricted the use of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) and outlawed its use on children.
  • Manodarpan Initiative: It is a Ministry of Education project under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. It aims to provide students, families, and teachers with psychosocial support for their mental health and well-being during the times of Covid-19.

National bioenergy programme

GS Paper: 3Environment

Important for

Prelims exam: National Bioenergy programme

Mains exam: Advantages of Bioenergy

Why in News?

As part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy recently organised a seminar on the National Bio Energy Programme in New Delhi in collaboration with UNIDO and GEF.


  • Biomass is organic matter, which means that it comes from anything that is currently or has ever been alive, including animal waste, crop waste, garden waste, and so on.
  • India has a wealth of renewable energy resources, thus it is important to promote their use in every way.
  • Large amounts of bio-waste, including animal waste, kitchen scraps, crop byproducts, market waste, and faeces sludge, are produced in rural India.
  • Utilizing biogas, an environmentally friendly fuel, helps cut down on pollution and carbon emissions.

Major highlights

  • They opened the Biourja and Biogas portals and unvieled the compendium of the National Bio Energy Programme.
  • For the purpose of registering for and submitting online applications for Central Financial Assistance (CFA) grants to Waste to Energy projects, Biomass Briquette/Pellet manufacturing facilities, and Biomass (non-bagasse) based cogeneration projects, the BioUrja portal has been created.
  • An overview of information relating to biogas is provided by the biogas portal.
  • It stressed the idea of “kachre-se-kanchan” and described waste as a source of wealth.

About National Bioenergy programme

  • In November 2022, the National Bioenergy Programme was notified by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
  • The National Bioenergy Programme has been continued by MNRE for the period from FY 2021-22 to 2025-26.
  • Two phases have been suggested for the implementation of the program:
  • A budget of Rs. 858 crores has been approved for the Program’s Phase-I.

The following sub-schemes will be included in the National Bioenergy Programme:

Waste to energy Programme

  • A large biogas, bioCNG, and power plant can be set up with the help of the Program on Energy from Urban, Industrial, and Agricultural Wastes/Residues.
  • The program’s implementing body will be the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA).

Biomass Programme

It is a programme to promote the production of briquettes and pellets as well as the promotion of biomass based cogeneration in industry to support the establishment of pellet and briquette projects for use in power generation.

Biogas Programme

  • To aid in the installation of small- and medium-sized biogas systems in rural areas.

Benefits of Bioenergy

  • Through the use of biogas, it aids in delivering clean cooking.
  • Co-firing in thermal power plants using BioCNG for transportation along with biomass briquettes and pellets.
  • The construction of biogas plants to provide consumers with clean cooking fuel, lightning, and small amounts of thermal and electric power, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improves sanitation, empowers women, and generates jobs in rural areas.
  • The digested slurry from biogas plants is a valuable supply of manure that will help farmers in supplementing / reducing the use of chemical fertilizers.
  • It is carbon-free. Biomass fuels only emit as much carbon into the atmosphere during photosynthesis as was taken up by plants in the course of their life cycle.
  • It lessens our over-dependence on fossil fuels. In addition to having a limite supply, fossil fuels also have negative environmental effects, such as the high levels of carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere and the pollutants they produce during extraction, transportation, and production.
  • Less expensive than fossil fuels: Biomass technology is much more affordable than fossil fuels, which require large capital investments for things like oil drilling, gas pipelines, and fuel collection. Producers and manufacturers can make more money from a smaller output.


  • Compared to fossil fuels, biomass energy is less efficient: Some biofuels, such as ethanol, are less effective than gasoline. In order to boost its effectiveness, it actually has to be strengthened by fossil fuels.
  • It is not completely clean. While using animal and human waste increases the amount of methane gases, which are also harmful to the environment, even though biomass is carbon neutral. Additionally, pollution resulting from the burning of wood, plants, and other natural resources can be compared to that produced by the burning of coal and other types of energy sources.
  • Because wood is one of the most commonly used biomass energy sources, burning large quantities of wood and other waste materials is necessary to generate the desired amount of power, which can result in deforestation.
  • Construction of biomass power plants is expensive: The gathering, moving, and storing of organic material can be expensive and require more space than other renewable energy sources, like solar power.

Initiative taken by government

  • GOBAR-Dhan: The Government of India introduced GOBAR-Dhan in 2018 as a part of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) (SMB-G) Biodegradable Waste Management component to improve rural cleanliness and produce wealth and energy from livestock and organic waste.
  • SATAT is a project that aims to offer an affordable and sustainable alternative to driving as a development effort that will help farmers, business owners, and others who use vehicles.
  • This initiative has a lot of potential for effective municipal solid waste management and for addressing the issue of urban air pollution due to farm stubble-burning and carbon emissions.

Power Sector

GS PAPER 3: Infrastructure

Important for

Prelims Exam: Renewable resources achievement, Government Schemes

Mains Exam: Measures to improve India’s Power Sector

Why in News?

Private sector power transmission companies have urged the Union Power Ministry to debar state-owned Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. (PGCIL) from all current and future rounds of tariff-based competitive bidding (TBCB) for transmission lines till the conflict of interest between the latter and the Central Transmission Utility of India Ltd. (CTUIL) is resolved.

Key Highlights

  • Electric Power Transmission Association (EPTA) alleged that there was a conflict of interest between PGCIL and CTUIL, the nodal agency for all transmission projects across the country.
  • CTUIL may kindly be directed to debar PGCIL from further participation in ongoing and future TBCB bids till such time that the separation between PGCIL and CTUIL is complete
  • Earlier, EPTA had urged the power ministry to ensure arm’s length between the CTUIL and all bidders to bring sanctity to tariff based competitive bidding.

About Power Sector in India

  • Power is among the most critical components of infrastructure, crucial for the economic growth and welfare of nations.
  • The existence and development of adequate power infrastructure is essential for sustained growth of the Indian economy.
  • India’s power sector is one of the most diversified in the world.

Sources of power:

    •  Sources of power generation range from conventional sources such as coal, lignite, natural gas, oil, hydro and nuclear power to viable non-conventional sources such as wind, solar, and agricultural and domestic waste.
  • The Indian power sector is undergoing a significant change that has redefined the industry outlook.
    •  Sustained economic growth continues to drive electricity demand in India.

Renewable energy sources

Renewable energy sources, including large hydropower, have a combined installed capacity of 163 GW.

The following is the installed capacity for Renewables:

  • Wind power: 41.2 GW
  • Solar Power: 59.34 GW
  • Biomass/Co-generation: 10.2 GW
  • Small Hydro Power: 4.88 GW
  • Waste to Energy: 0.47 GW
  • Large Hydro: 46.85 GW

India has set a target to reduce the carbon intensity of the nation’s economy by less than 45% by the end of the decade, achieve 50% cumulative electric power installed by 2030, and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. Low-carbon technologies could create a market worth up to $80 bn in India by 2030.

India‘s target is to produce 5 MT of green hydrogen by 2030. Green Hydrogen target is set at India’s electrolyser manufacturing capacity is projected to reach 8 GW per year by 2025. The cumulative value of the green hydrogen market in India could reach $8 bn by 2030 and India will require at least 50 gigawatt (GW) of electrolysers or more to ramp up hydrogen production.

  • 59 solar parks of aggregate capacity 40 GW have been approved in India
  • Solar Parks in Pavagada (2 GW), Kurnool (1 GW) and Bhadla-II (648 MW) included in top 5 operational solar parks of 7 GW capacity in the country
  • The world’s largest renewable energy park of 30 GW capacity solar-wind hybrid project is under installation in Gujarat
  • India offers a great opportunity for investments in RE sector; $196.98 bn worth of projects underway in India
  • Wind Energy has an off-shore target of 30 GW by 2030 with 3 potential sites identified

Sharing in Power Sector

Top Power Producing States in India

Government Initiatives

Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana:

  • Launched in November 2015, it is the Centre’s scheme that aims to rescue the country’s ailing DISCOMS.
  • Under the scheme, states can take over three-fourths of the debt of their respective DISCOMS and include them in the fiscal deficit calculations.
  • The governments will then issue ‘UDAY bonds’ to banks and other financial institutions to raise money off the banks.

Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana:

  • DDUGY is a scheme that aims to provide a continuous power supply to rural India.
  • It subsumes the erstwhile Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY).

Solar power:

  • Two national-level programmes were implemented by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to promote the installation of solar rooftop systems.

Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS):

  • Strengthen sub-transmission and distribution network in urban areas
  • Metering of distribution transformers/feeders/consumers in urban areas
  • Strengthen and create IT-enabled distribution network.

One Nation, One grid:

  • India’s power system is divided into five regional grids with each grid catering to electricity demands for one particular region.

Saubhagya Scheme:

  • Saubhagya scheme or Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijili Har Ghar Yojana is an initiative that aims to provide electricity to the households.
  • Certain households identified via the Socio-economic and Caste Census (SECC) on 2011 will be eligible for free electricity connections, while others will be charged Rs.500.

SAMADHAN scheme:

  • The Indian government, through Scheme of Asset Management and Debt Change Structure (SAMADHAN), aims to prevent the liquidation of stressed power projects as energy sector faced a financial crisis.

Achievement in Power Sector

Power Grid Corporation India Limited (PGCIL)

  • A “Maharatna” Central Public Sector Enterprise.
  • India’s largest Electric Power Transmission Utility
  • Listed Company since 2007
  • Consistently rated “Excellent” under Memorandum of Understanding with Ministry of Power since 1993-94
  • 51.34% holding by Government of India and balance 48.66% by public. Dividend paying since 1993

Electric Power Transmission Association (EPTA) is an association of leading private power transmission developers, industry stakeholders and experts in the area of power transmission.

Central Transmission Utility of lndia Ltd (CTUIL), 100% subsidiary of Power Grid Corporation of India Limited, is notified as the Central Transmission Utility under Section 38 of the Electricity Act 2003. Its functions as per Electricity Act, 2003 are as below:

  • To undertake transmission of electricity through inter-State transmission system;
  • To discharge all functions of planning and co-ordination relating to inter-state transmission system with – (i) State Transmission Utilities; (ii) Central Government; (iii) State Governments; (iv) generating companies; (v) Regional Power Committees; (vi) Authority; (vii) licensees; (viii) any other person notified by the Central Government in this behalf;
  • To ensure development of an efficient, co-ordinated and economical system of inter-State transmission lines for smooth flow of electricity from generating stations to the load centres;
  • To provide non-discriminatory open access to its transmission system for use by-
  • Any licensee or generating company on payment of the transmission charges; or
    ii. any consumer as and when such open access is provided by the State Commission under sub-section (2) of section 42, on payment of the transmission charges and a surcharge thereon, as may be specified by the Central Commission:

Great Nicobar Island

GS PAPER 3: Environment Degradation

Important for

Prelims Exam: About Great Nicobar Island

Mains Exam: Impacts of Great Nicobar Island Project

Why in News?

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change gave environmental clearance for the ambitious Rs. 72,000 crore development project on the strategically important Great Nicobar Island.

About The Proposal

  • A “greenfield city” has been proposed, including an International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT), a Greenfield international airport, a power plant, and a township for the personnel who will implement the project.
  • “The proposed port will allow Great Nicobar to participate in the regional and global maritime economy by becoming a major player in cargo transshipment,’’ the Niti Aayog has said in a report.
  • The port will be controlled by the Indian Navy, while the airport will have dual military-civilian functions and will cater to tourism as well.
  • Roads, public transport, water supply and waste management facilities, and several hotels have been planned to cater to tourists.
  • A total 166.1 sq km along the southeastern and southern coasts of the island have been identified for project along a coastal strip of width between 2 km and 4 km.
  • Some 130 sq km of forests have been sanctioned for diversion, and 9.64 lakh trees are likely to be felled.
  • Development activities are proposed to commence in the current financial year, and the port is expected to be commissioned by 2027–28.
  • More than 1 lakh new direct jobs and 1.5 lakh indirect jobs are likely to be created on the island over the period of development.

Great Nicobar, Great Nicobar development project, Andaman and Nicobar islands, Great Nicobar project, Indian Express

The Island

  • Great Nicobar, the southernmost of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, has an area of 910 sq km.
  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a cluster of about 836 islands in the eastern Bay of Bengal, the two groups of which are separated by the 150-km wide Ten Degree Channel.
  • The Andaman Islands lie to the north of the channel, and the Nicobar Islands to the south.
  • Indira Point on the southern tip of Great Nicobar Island is India’s southernmost point, less than 150 km from the northernmost island of the Indonesian archipelago.
  • Great Nicobar is home to two national parks, a biosphere reserve, and the Shompen and Nicobarese tribal peoples, along with ex-servicemen from Punjab, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh who were settled on the island in the 1970s.
  • The Shompen are hunter-gatherers who depend on forest and marine resources for sustenance.
    • The Nicobarese, who lived along the west coast of the island were mostly relocated after the 2004 tsunami.
    • An estimated 237 Shompen and 1,094 Nicobarese individuals now live in a 751 sq km tribal reserve, some 84 sq km of which is proposed to be denotified.
    • The approximately 8,000 settlers who live on the island are engaged in agriculture, horticulture, and fishing.
  • The Great Nicobar Island has tropical wet evergreen forests, mountain ranges reaching almost 650 m above sea level, and coastal plains.
  • Fourteen species of mammals, 71 species of birds, 26 species of reptiles, 10 species of amphibians, and 113 species of fish are found on the island, some of which are endangered. The leatherback sea turtle is the island’s flagship species.

The purpose

  • The island has a lot of tourism potential, but the government’s greater goal is to leverage the locational advantage of the island for economic and strategic reasons.
  • Great Nicobar is equidistant from Colombo to the southwest and Port Klang and Singapore to the southeast, and positioned close to the East-West international shipping corridor, through which a very large part of the world’s shipping trade passes.
  • The proposed ICTT can potentially become a hub for cargo ships travelling on this route.
  • The proposal to develop Great Nicobar was first floated in the 1970s, and its importance for national security and consolidation of the Indian Ocean Region has been repeatedly underlined.
  • Increasing Chinese assertion in the Bay of Bengal and the Indo-Pacific has added great urgency to this imperative in recent years.

The concerns

  • The proposed massive infrastructure development in an ecologically important and fragile region, including the felling of almost a million trees, has alarmed many environmental changes.
  • The loss of tree cover will not only affect the flora and fauna on the island, it will also lead to increased runoff and sediment deposits in the ocean, impacting the coral reefs in the area, environmentalist have cautioned.
  • Coral reefs, already under threat from warming oceans, are of enormous ecological importance.
  • Loss of mangroves on the island as a result of the development project.
  • India has successfully translocated a coral reef from the Gulf of Mannar to the Gulf of Kutch earlier. The Zoological Survey of India is currently in the process of assessing how much of the reef will have to be relocated for the project.

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