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Women in Legislatures• Today, 71 years after Independence, women in the world’s most populous democracy constitute just 12% of the Lok Sabha whereas the world average was just under 23%.
• Bill to increase the representation of women in all legislatures to 33%, was introduced as far back as in 1996, in the Indian Parliament.
Judiciary• In 2017, India spent about ₹0.24 per person on the judiciary; the U.S. spent ₹12.
• Current working capacity of the High Courts and the Supreme Court is only 63.6%.
• Huge numbers of pending cases: 1.8 lakh in six of the major tribunals and close to 3.5 million in the High Courts.
Aadhaar • Govt. estimates that ₹90,000 Cr have been saved in the past few years by the use of Aadhaar. Several duplicate beneficiaries, non-existent beneficiaries and fake beneficiaries have been eliminated. Digital Dividend Report prepared by the World Bank estimates that India can save ₹77,000 Cr every year by the use of Aadhaar.
Indian Economy• WB => India’s is expected to grow at 7.3% in 2018-19, and 7.5% in the following two years, attributing it to an upswing in consumption and investment. India will continue to be the fastest growing major economy.
• WEF => Domestic private consumption, that accounts for a major portion of India’s GDP, is expected to develop into a $6 trillion growth opportunity that would make India the world’s third-largest economy by 2030. Currently it is at $1.5 trillion.
Sub-national economic growth• Bihar and Andhra Pradesh led the pack among States in terms of GDP growth in FY 2017-18, clocking 11.3% and 11.2% growth, respectively, compared with the national GDP growth of 6.7% for the year, according to a report by CRISIL.
Inequality• Oxfam => India's 9 richest people hold wealth equal to that of bottom 50%
World Economy• In its annual assessment, World Bank is warning of increasing risks, or what it calls "darkening skies", for the world economy. Bank's forecast is 2.9% in 2019 and 2.8% in 2020. The predicted slowdown is focused on rich countries, particularly the US.
• US slowdown is the result of fading impact of President Trump's tax cuts and by 2021 its growth will have almost halved - to 1.6% compared with 2.9% last year.
China's Economy• China’s 2018 growth slows to 28-year low. Growing signs of weakness in China — which has generated nearly a third of global growth in recent years — are fuelling anxiety about risks to the world economy.
Unemployment (global)• Around the world, 190 million people are unemployed, while 300 million workers live in extreme poverty, according to the ILO.
Internet access• In Dec, the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) declared that global internet access had crossed a threshold with more than half of the world’s population now online.
• The first half of the world was easier to bring online, the second half is not. Experts estimate that UN’s goal of universal access, defined as 90% of people being online, may not be reached until 2050 or later.
Invasive Alien Species• Over four decades, India lost almost one-fourth of high altitude grasslands in Western Ghats to exotic invasive trees. Though grassland afforestation using pine, acacia and eucalyptus ceased in 1996, the exotics still invade these ecosystems.
Ganga • Indo-Gangetic plain is home to a little over 5% of the world’s population. The Ganga and its tributaries bring in fresh water, recharge groundwater aquifers and drain wastewater. The survival of an estimated 400 million people – and the biodiversity amidst them – hinges on the health of the Ganga.
Plastic Pollution• A study by the Central Pollution Control Board said the top 60 cities account for a sixth of the country’s plastic waste, and half of that comes from just five cities – Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore.
Sanitation• Centre for Policy Research in a study has found that Open defecation levels are still above 40% in ODF States. Mission has been more successful at toilet construction than at driving behavior change.
• Seven cities – all in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh – have been certified ODF++, according to SBM-Urban.
• The certification, an extension of the ODF protocol, means that all the faecal sludge and sewage in these cities is treated scientifically before discharge.
• These are the first cities to qualify under ODF++. 12 other cities are being assessed, while 533 cities have applied for the certification.
Education• Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018, the results of a yearly survey that NGO Pratham has been carrying out since 2006, shows that more than half of Class VIII students cannot correctly solve a numerical division problem and more than a quarter of them cannot read a primary level text. These figures are worse than they were a decade ago.
Health spending• India’s public spending on health continues to hover around 1% of GDP for many decades, accounting for less than 30% of total health expenditure.
• National Health Policy 2017 envisaged raising public spending on health to 2.5% of GDP by 2025.