Current Affairs 1st February, 2019

PAPER – 1, PAPER – 2

Topics Covered

1. Social Issues

2. Issues and Management related to Human Resource Development

3. Governance

Unemployment data by NSSO

Image result for nsso unemployment data 2017

What to read?

Prelims – Highlights of the data, About NSSO

Mains – What NITI Aayog says on the report?, What could be interpreted? and How unemployment is combated in India?

The National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO's) data showing a record spike in unemployment in 2017-18,  was published, which is a validation of trends seen on the ground.


The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) headed by a Director General is responsible for conduct of large scale sample surveys in diverse fields on All India basis.

It is under the Ministry of Statistics of the Indian government. Set up in 1950, the employees of the NSSO are from the Indian Statistical Service (appointed through the UPSC) and the Subordinate Statistical Service (appointed through the Staff Selection Commission).

  • Primarily data are collected through nation-wide household surveys on various socio-economic subjects, Annual Survey of Industries (ASI), etc.

  • Besides these surveys, NSSO collects data on rural and urban prices and plays a significant role in the improvement of crop statistics through supervision of the area enumeration and crop estimation surveys of the State agencies.  

Highlights of the report

  • There has been a rise in unemployment and a decline in the labour force participation rate (LFPR) post demonetisation

  • Joblessness was higher in urban India (7.8%) than in rural India (5.3%).Within this, it stood at 17.4% for rural males and 13.6% for rural females. In urban India, joblessness was at 18.7% among males and a huge 27.2% among females.

  • Labour force participation rate (LFPR), the measure of people working or looking for jobs, declined from 39.5% in 2011-12 to 36.9% in 2017-18.

  • NSSO report said overall unemployment was at a 45-year high, with youth between the ages of 15 and 29 facing higher rates of joblessness than others

  • Urban women, who face an unemployment rate of 27% are worst hit

  • The informal sector employs more than 90% of the country’s workforce, and has witnessed a decline in available work and wages in the last two years.

  • The only year of comparable data when the unemployment rate was higher was in 1972-73. It was at 2.2% in 2011-12.

Job scenario in India by NSSO

Image result for nsso unemployment data 2017

What does NITI Aayog say?

The NITI Aayog said the report of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), cited as the source for the report, was in fact a draft and not approved by the government.

Unemployment – Why a serious crisis in India?

This phenomenon — of unemployment rising while the LFPR dipped — is a cause for serious worry, that it probably shows that people are simply giving up on finding jobs and have stopped seeking work.

Related Institution

  • National Statistical Commission

    • The Government of India through a resolution dated 1st June, 2005 set up the National Statistical Commission (NSC).

    • The setting up of the NSC followed the decision of the Cabinet to accept the recommendations of the Rangarajan Commission, which reviewed the Indian Statistical System in 2001.

    • The NSC was constituted with effect from 12th July 2006 with a mandate to evolve policies, priorities and standards in statistical matters.

    • The NSC has four Members besides a Chairperson, each having specialization and experience in specified statistical fields.

    PAPER – 2

    Topics Covered

    1. International Organisations

    2. Reports

    Corruption Perception Index 2018

    Image result for corruption perception index 2018 india

    What to read?

    Prelims – About Corruption Perception Index

    Mains – Efforts by government to promote transparency in Governance

    Corruption Perception Index 2018 has been released by Transparency International.

    • The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople.

    • It uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

    More on CPI

    It is a composite index that draws from 12 surveys to rank nations around the globe. It has become a benchmark gauge of perceptions of corruption and is used by analysts and investors.

    The index is also based on expert opinions of public sector corruption and takes note of range of factors like whether governmental leaders are held to account or go unpunished for corruption, the perceived prevalence of bribery, and whether public institutions respond to citizens’ needs.

    Highlights of the report

    • Denmark is the world least corrupt country scoring 88 out of 100 points. Denmark is followed by New Zealand and Finland.

    • Somalia has been ranked last with a score of 10 behind South Sudan and Syria.

    • More than two-thirds of evaluated countries scored below 50 points, while the average score remained at last year’s level of only 43 points.

    • For the first time the United States dropped out of the top 20 and it was ranked at 22nd rank.

    • Along with Brazil, US was placed in the watch list by Transparency International.


    Performance of India

    • India’s ranking increased from 81st in 2017 to 78 in 2018. India had slid from 79th rank in 2016.

    • Since India gears up for general elections, there was a little significant movement in its CPI score, which moved from 40 in 2017 to 41 in 2018.

    • In spite of spectacular public mobilisation in 2011, where citizens demanded the government to take action against corruption and advocated for the passage of the comprehensive Jan Lokpal bill, the efforts ultimately fizzled and fell flat, with little to no movement on the ground to build the specialist anti-corruption infrastructure required.

    Corruption and the crisis of democracy

    Cross analysis with global democracy data reveals a link between corruption and the health of democracies.

    Full democracies score an average of 75 on the CPI; flawed democracies score an average of 49; hybrid regimes – which show elements of autocratic tendencies – score 35; autocratic regimes perform worst, with an average score of just 30 on the CPI.

    More generally, countries with high levels of corruption can be dangerous places for political opponents. Practically all of the countries where political killings are ordered or condoned by the government are rated as highly corrupt on the CPI.


    PAPER – 3

    Topics Covered

    1. Energy Resources


    Image result for petrotech 2019

    What to read?

    Prelims – About the Summit

    PETROTECH-2019, the 13th International Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition, being organised under the aegis of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India, is all set to be inaugurated on February 10, 2019

    • It is the India’s flagship hydrocarbon international conference

    • The three-day mega event will showcase the recent market and investor friendly developments that have taken place in the India’s oil and gas sector.

    • It is expected to see participation of over 86 eminent speakers and 7000 delegates from around 70 countries, including technologists, scientists, planners, policy-makers, management experts, entrepreneurs, service-providers and vendors.

    • The PETROTECH 2019 exhibition will focus on development in technologies for exploration & production, process control, refining and pipeline and services, systems, products, oil field hardware, software, analytical instruments, Renewable, R&D, HSE, training and publications of technical literature.

    Paper 2 and 3:

    Topics Covered

  • Important international agencies.

  • Infrastructure- railways.


    “The Future of Rail” Report

    Image result for “The Future of Rail” Report IEA

    What to read?

    Prelims and Mains: About IEA, Features and findings of the report, India’s potential and measures needed to take this growth forward.

    “The Future of Rail” Report has been released by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

    It examines how the role of rail in global transport might be elevated as a means to reduce the energy use and environmental impacts associated with transport.


    • Established in 1974 as per framework of the OECD.

    • Mission – The IEA works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 30 member countries and beyond.

    • Its mission is guided by four main areas of focus: energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and engagement worldwide

    • Headquarters (Secretariat): Paris, France

    Note - A candidate country must be a member country of the OECD. But all OECD members are not IEA members (Ex:Chile, Iceland, Israel, Latvia and Slovenia).

     Key findings from The Future of Rail

  • Rail is among the most energy efficient modes of transport for freight and passengers – while the rail sector carries 8% of the world’s passengers and 7% of global freight transport, it represents only 2% of total transport energy demand.

  • Today, three-quarters of passenger rail transport activity takes place on electric trains, which is an increase from 60% in 2000 – the rail sector is the only mode of transport that is widely electrified today. This reliance on electricity means that the rail sector is the most energy diverse mode of transport.

  • The regions with the highest share of electric train activity are Europe, Japan and Russia, while North and South America still rely heavily on diesel.

  • Passenger rail is significantly more electrified than freight in almost all regions, and regions with higher reliance on urban rail and high-speed rail are those with the largest share of passenger-kilometres served by electricity.

  • Most conventional rail networks today are located in North America, Europe, China, Russia, India, and Japan. These regions make up about 90% of global passenger movements on conventional rail with India leading at 39%, followed by China at 27%.

  • In contrast, significant investments have been made in high-speed rail and metros. High-speed rail provides an important alternative to aviation while urban rail provides a solution to cities impacted by congestion and air pollution. Growth has been most notable in China, which has overtaken all other countries in terms of network length of both types within a single decade.

  •  Focus on India

    Image result for “The Future of Rail” Report IEA

  • India’s railway system has played a fundamental role in the country’s development, transporting people and goods throughout its vast territory, integrating markets and connecting communities.

  • Rail passenger traffic in India has increased by almost 200% since 2000 and freight traffic by 150%, yet latent demand for mobility in India remains huge. In fact, rail activity in India is set to grow more than any other country.

  • Today, the conventional rail system in India comprises a total route length of almost 68000 km. Metro systems exist in 10 Indian cities. A further 600 km of metro lines are planned for the next few years.

  • For now, India does not have any high-speed rail. However, in 2015 India and Japan signed an agreement to develop a high-speed rail line connecting the cities of Ahmedabad and Mumbai, to come into operation in 2023.

  • Seven other high-speed lines are currently under consideration. Once completed, they would connect the four cities that constitute the Golden Quadrilateral (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai) plus other intermediate cities.

  • Paper 2

    Topics Covered

  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

  • International Year Of The Periodic Table

    Image result for International Year Of The Periodic Table

    What to read?

    Prelims: International Year Of The Periodic Table, about Periodic table- key facts, IUPAC.

    To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the organisation of the periodic table, UNESCO has launched the International Year Of The Periodic Table.

     Key facts:

    • Russian scientist Dmitry Mendeleev published the first periodic such table in 1969.

    • The table organizes all chemical elements by the number of protons in a given atom and other properties.

    • There are seven rows, called periods, and 18 columns, called groups, in the table.

    • Elements in the same group share similar properties. Those in the same period have the same number of atomic orbitals.

    • Most elements on the table are metals divided into six broad categories – alkali metals, alkaline earths, basic metals, transition metals, lanthanides and actinides. They are located on the left, separated from the non-metals on the right by a zig-zag line.

    • Lanthanides and actinides, often called “inner transition metals, are commonly hived off as a separate section under the main table as including all 30 – including Uranium – would make the table too wide.

    • The table is a useful tool for people to derive relationships between the different properties of the elements. It can also help predict the properties of new elements that have yet to be discovered or created.