1 October The Hindu Analysis

1 October The Hindu Analysis

  • Kerala tops Niti Aayog’s School Education Quality Index; U.P. is worst performer #GS2 #Governance #Social Issues

There are huge differences in the quality of school education across the country, according to a Niti Aayog ranking released on Monday. Among 20 large States, Kerala was the best performer with a score of 76.6%, while Uttar Pradesh came in last with a score of 36.4%.

However, Haryana, Assam and Uttar Pradesh showed the most improvement in their performance in 2016-17, in comparison to the base year of 2015-16. The School Education Quality Index assesses

States on the basis of learning outcomes, access, equity and infrastructure and facilities, using survey data, self-reported data from States and third-party verification.

  • Core sector growth turns negative in August in fresh concern #Economy

Growth worries for the government escalated, with the output of India’s eight infrastructure sectors contracting for the first time in more than four years in August.

The index of eight core infrastructure industries declined 0.5% during the month. Production in five sectors, including electricity and cement, shrank. The development indicates that the recovery seen in July may have been a blip, as feared by many analysts.

Output of coal (-8.6%), crude oil (-5.4%), natural gas (-3.9%), cement (-4.9%) and electricity (-2.9%) contracted in August, indicating a broad-based slowdown, while production of refinery products (2.6%), fertilizers (2.9%) and steel (5%) increased.

  • Scientists excavate ‘ancient river’ in Uttar Pradesh  #Geography

The Union Water Ministry has excavated an old, dried-up river in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) that linked the Ganga and Yamuna rivers. The aim is to develop it as a potential groundwater recharge source, according to officials at the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), a body under the Union Jal Shakti Ministry that coordinates the cleaning of the Ganga.

The “ancient buried river” as it was described at a conference organised by the Ministry, is around 4 km wide, 45 km long and consisted of a 15-metre-thick layer buried under soil. These paleochannels reveal the course of rivers that have ceased to exist.

The newly discovered river, was a “buried paleochannel that joins the Yamuna river at Durgapur village, about 26 km south of the current Ganga-Yamuna confluence at Prayagraj.

  • ‘Lack of provisions in urban policies led to sewer deaths’  #Governance

In the urban policies made for the city by the State, municipal bodies, institutions and private companies, there is a complete absence of planning for maintenance of sewers, septic tanks and waste disposal systems.

The report titled “Chronic ‘Accidents’: Deaths of Sewer/Septic Tank Workers, Delhi, 2017-2019” has been published to coincide with the completion of five years of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and contains the findings of an investigation conducted into six incidents of deaths of sanitation workers in Delhi, while cleaning sewers/septic tanks over the last two years.

The report shows lack of provisions in urban planning for maintenance of sewers and septage systems, lack of provision for safety gear and safety equipment or training sewer/septic tank cleaners, and lack of criminal prosecution of those guilty of sending them to do this hazardous work manually. These are significant patterns that mark all sewer deaths in the Capital.

  • Let best Asian brains fight climate change #Environment

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday called for collaborative efforts among the “best brains in Asian countries to offer innovative solutions” to global warming and climate change.

Pointing out that “technology unites people, even across countries and across continents,” Mr. Modi, who handed over prizes to winners of the Singapore-India Hackathon 2019 at the IITMadras Research Park here, responded favourably to the suggestion of Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s Education Minister, that the contest be extended to students of universities belonging to member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

 

  • Natural for India to introduce its language in global stage, says Jaishankar  #Governance

As India exerts itself more on the global stage, it is natural for the country to use its language and metaphors more. His comments were in response to a question from The Hindu on which of India’s many aspects would be projected abroad.

“Nobody disputes that India is a pluralistic society and a pluralistic polity,” Mr Jaishankar said. “Now because you have multiple voices and different facets, doesn’t mean that none of them should be projected.”

The minister was speaking at an event at the Washington DC offices of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a think tank, days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the U.S. for bilateral meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump and to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

 

  • J&K shutdown: 3-judge SC Bench to hear 7 pleas  #Governance

A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Monday referred petitions challenging the Jammu and Kashmir lockdown and lack of access to basic facilities to another Bench of three judges.

A Constitution Bench of five judges, also led by Justice Ramana, would further, on October 1, start hearing another batch of petitions seeking to quash the dilution of Article 370, which led to the withdrawal of the special rights and privileges enjoyed by the Kashmiri people for decades.

 

  • Government plans penicillin revival to fight rheumatic fever #Science & Technology

In a bid to fight drug resistance and tackle rheumatic heart disease, the Government of India is planning a revival of penicillin, one of the oldest antibiotics known to man. Not many organisms have developed resistance to it yet.

Penicillin went out of production in India because of unrealistic price control, officials said. The government is now planning to procure penicillin centrally for three years and give it to all children between 5-15 years who have a sore throat, at least once. The drug will be dispensed through primary health centres or administered by ASHAs.

 

  • How to read corporate tax cut  #Economy

Speaking at the Bloomberg global business forum last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong pitch before global investors to come to India. Back home, the government has initiated a slew of reforms to arrest the slowdown in economic growth.

The cut in corporate tax rate has been the biggest change; inclusive of cesses and surcharges, the rate has come down from roughly 35% to 25%, and without the cesses and surcharges, to 22% from around 30%. The government has also nudged public and private banks to look at providing new loans to businesses, and has been working with RBI to bring down the cost of such loans by improving monetary policy transmission and reducing interest rates.

 

  • Changes in Apprenticeship Rules notified; compensation increased  #Economy

The Centre on Monday announced a commitment of Rs 560 crore to state governments to promote demand-driven, industry-linked skill development at the ground level.

The government has also notified changes in Apprenticeship Rules (1992) with an aim to increase skilled manpower in the country, and raise monetary compensation of apprentices.

“Skill development is a demand-driven subject and thus it is important that we give more power to the states to ensure quality and market relevant outcome. It is important that we map and strike a balance between the traditional and new age skills, right at the district level and also target a shift from unorganised to the organised market through our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) program