News Analysis

  1. ILO ‘s Report on India’s Employment Conditions

Syllabus : GS III Economy Unemployment

Why in News?

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Institute of Human Development (IHD) have jointly published a report titled “India Employment Report 2024

Syllabus: GS III (Economy)

The third edition of the India Employment Report for 2024, a collaborative effort between the Institute for Human Development and the International Labour Organization (ILO), delves into the complexities of youth employment against the backdrop of evolving economic, educational, and skills landscapes in India.

 It scrutinizes the shifts observed over the last twenty years, shedding light on both advancements and enduring obstacles in the Indian labor market, accentuated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Highlights of the India Employment Report 2024:

The report is primarily based on analysis of data from the National Sample Surveys and the Periodic Labour Force Surveys between 2000 and 2022.

Following a substantial decline in earlier years, the female labor market participation rate in India experienced a notably accelerated upward trajectory from 2019 onward, especially in rural regions.

A prominent characteristic of the Indian labor market is the gradual shift of workers away from agriculture toward non-farm sectors.

 The majority of employment in India comprises self-employment and casual labor, with approximately 82 percent of the workforce operating in the informal sector, and nearly 90 percent informally employed.

While casual laborers witnessed a modest increase in wages between 2012 and 2022, real wages for regular workers either stagnated or decreased.

 Official surveys inadequately capture migration levels in India, with urbanization and migration rates anticipated to significantly rise in the future.

By 2030, it is projected that India will have a migration rate of around 40 percent and an urban population of approximately 607 million.

Challenges:

1. India has a significant portion of its population in the working-age bracket, presenting a potential demographic dividend that is expected to persist for the next decade. However, there’s a crucial juncture ahead as the proportion of youth in the population, which stood at 27 percent in 2021, is projected to decrease to 23 percent by 2036.

2. The annual addition of approximately 7-8 million youths to the labor force presents an opportunity for India to leverage its demographic potential, provided their productivity is effectively harnessed.

3. Despite the potential, youth engagement in the labor market has historically been lower compared to adults, largely due to increased enrollment in education over the years.

4. From 2000 to 2019, youth unemployment surged almost threefold, from 5.7 percent to 17.5 percent, before slightly declining to 12.1 percent in 2022.

5. The aftermath of lockdowns witnessed a swift recovery in youth labor market indicators; however, this resurgence coincided with an influx of labor force entrants, leading to an expansion in the workforce, primarily in low-quality employment sectors.

Suggestions:

The report highlights five key policy areas for further action, which apply more generally and also specifically for youth in India:

  • promoting job creation;
  • improving employment quality;
  • addressing labour market inequalities;
  • strengthening skills and active labour market policies; and
  • bridging the knowledge deficits on labour market patterns and youth employment.

About International Labour Organisation:

  • The ILO was created in 1919, as part of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, to reflect the belief that universal and lasting peace can be accomplished only if it is based on social justice.
  • In 1946, the ILO became a specialized agency of the United Nations.
  • The ILO is devoted to promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights, pursuing its founding mission that labour peace is essential to prosperity.
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

Objectives of ILO:

  • The ILO has four strategic objectives:
  • Promote and realize standards and fundamental principles and rights at work,
  • Create greater opportunities for women and men to decent employment and income,
  • Enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all, and
  • Strengthen tripartism and social dialogue.

Membership of ILO:

  • The ILO has 187 state members.
  • India is a founding member of the ILO and it has been a permanent member of the ILO Governing Body since 1922.
  • The ILO constitution permits any member of the UN to become a member of the ILO.
  • To gain membership, a nation must inform the director-general that it accepts all the obligations of the ILO constitution.

About Institute of Human Development (IHD):

  • The Institute for Human Development (IHD) was established in the year 1998 under the aegis of the Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE).
  • It aims to contribute towards building a society that fosters and values an inclusive social, economic and political system that is free from poverty and deprivations.
  • It undertakes research in the areas of labour and employment, livelihood, gender, health, education and other aspects of human development.

2. KRISHI INTEGRATED COMMAND AND CONTROL CENTRE (ICCC)

Syllabus: GS II Sciemce and Tech

Why in News?

Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW) inaugurated a Krishi Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC) set up at KrishiBhavan in New Delhi.

The ICCC, situated within the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW), employs advanced technology solutions to facilitate informed decision-making processes.

It harnesses various IT applications and platforms, including artificial intelligence (AI), remote sensing, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), to gather and analyze extensive datasets.

Utilizing tools like the Krishi Decision Support System (DSS), the center aggregates micro-level data, processes it, and offers a comprehensive overview at the macro level.

Working of a Krishi Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC)

The AI-/ machine learning-based system will identify a farmer through his/ her mobile number or Aadhaar.

Then, the system will match it with the farmer’s field information obtained through land records, historical crop sowing information from the crop registry, weather data from IMD, etc.

It will then generate a customised advisory in the local language of the farmer. For this, the system will use the Bhashini platform that allows translation into several Indian languages.

On 8 large, 55-inch LED screens installed at the ICCC, one can see information on –

  • Temperatures, rainfall, wind speed, crop yields, production, drought situation, cropping patterns (geographic region-wise and year-wise) and production estimations.
  • In graphical/ map, timeline, and drill-down format.
  • The relevant trends (periodic and non-periodic), outliers, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and
  • Receive insights, alerts, and feedback on agriculture schemes, programmes, projects, and initiatives.
  • If needed, farmer beneficiaries can interact directly with officials or the Minister through video conferencing facilities.

Significance: The ICCC consolidates geospatial information from diverse sources, including remote sensing, soil survey data, weather updates from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), sowing data from Digital Crop Survey, farmer and farm-related information from KrishiMApper, market intelligence from the Unified Portal for Agricultural Statistics (UPAg), and yield estimation data from the General Crop Estimation Survey (GCES). This integrated platform facilitates swift and effective decision-making through visual representation of data.

Moving forward, the ICCC ecosystem can be interconnected with Kisan e-mitra, a chatbot designed for PM-Kisan beneficiaries, and establish a framework to generate personalized advisories at the individual farmer level.

3. IT’S A MISCONCEPTION TO BELIEVE GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION CAN SOLVE ALL SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ISSUES, INCLUDING UNEMPLOYMENT.

Syllabus: GS III (Economy) Inclusive Growth

Why in news

 Chief Economic Advisor V. AnanthaNageswaran challenges the notion that government intervention alone can resolve all socio-economic problems, including unemployment. He underscores the intricate nature of finding solutions for unemployment, which is more complex than identifying the issue itself.

Nageswaran questions the effectiveness of extensive government action in addressing employment concerns, besides merely increasing public sector employment.

He emphasizes the role of the private sector in job creation and highlights its responsibility in this regard.

 Government initiatives aimed at fostering job growth include skill development programs and the politically neutral National Education Policy of 2020.

Measures like corporate income tax breaks for salaries and subsidies for provident fund contributions were mentioned as steps to balance tax code incentives between capital accumulation and employment generation.

He expressed concern over government welfare policies potentially reducing the incentive to work and negatively impacting the labor market.

Counter Arguments

1. Advocating for Increased Government Involvement

2. Evaluating the Effectiveness of Existing Policies

3. Tackling Informal Employment Challenges

4. Enhancing Social Protection Measures

5. Promoting Gender and Social Equality

6. Raising Doubts Regarding Market-Centric Approaches

4. NEW COLLECTIVE QUANTITATIVE GOAL

Syllabus : GS II Environmental Organizations and climate change

Why in news?

Climate experts believe that the focus of this year’s climate change conference in Baku, Azerbaijan (COP 29 scheduled for November 11-24) will be on finance.

As per them, the expression that is likely to be heard most frequently at COP29 is NCQG — or New Collective Quantitative Goal (on finance).

Story in short:

In 2022, during the climate change conference in Sharm el-Sheikh (COP 27), the decision was made to establish a Loss and Damage Fund aimed at aiding developing nations in recovering from climate-related disasters.

In 2023, at the conference in Dubai (COP 28), the primary focus was on the Global Stocktake (GST), which entailed a comprehensive assessment of ongoing climate efforts. Notably, this led to the first explicit acknowledgment of the imperative to transition away from fossil fuels, along with a commitment to tripling global renewable energy capacity by 2030.

Anticipated for COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan, this year’s emphasis is expected to center around climate finance.

New Collective Quantitative Goal (NCQG)

NCQG is a term for the extra money that rich countries need to gather each year starting from 2025. This money is meant to support actions against climate change in poorer countries.

It has to be more than the $100 billion that rich countries promised to collect each year starting from 2020, but didn’t manage to do.

Status of NCQG

NCQG is extremely important for developing countries, and discussions on this new amount have been ongoing for a couple of years at least.

At a recently concluded two-day meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark— the first minister-level climate meeting for this year — some technical work to arrive at the NCQG was finalised.

Assessments indicate that the financial needs for effective climate action amount to several trillions of dollars annually. According to a report by the UNFCCC secretariat in 2021, developing countries alone would require approximately $6 trillion each year until 2030 to implement their climate action plans. An updated version of this report, expected later this year, is anticipated to raise this figure even higher.

The final agreement reached at Sharm el-Sheikh (COP 27) estimated that a global transition to a low-carbon economy would necessitate approximately $4-6 trillion annually until 2050.

However, the primary challenge in scaling up global climate action lies in the insufficient availability of finance, particularly in developing nations. Despite developed countries pledging to mobilize $100 billion annually from 2020 onwards, the actual climate finance flows have consistently fallen short of this target. Even if this amount were met, it would only represent a fraction of the funding required to sustain actions aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius until 2030.

Presently, climate finance allocations are heavily skewed towards mitigation efforts, prompting calls from developing countries for increased funding for adaptation and other initiatives.

India has advocated for developed nations to provide at least $1 trillion annually in climate finance to developing countries starting from 2025, primarily in the form of grants and concessional finance. The G-20 New Delhi Leader’s Declaration also acknowledges the significant financial requirements necessary for the global transition to a renewable energy-driven economy, highlighting the need for approximately $5.8-5.9 trillion in the period leading up to 2030.

Unlike the unilateral commitment of $100 billion, the National Climate Quantification Group (NCQG) will emerge from negotiated agreements, providing countries with greater oversight over adherence.

The allocation of the new funding across various priorities such as mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, among others, will significantly influence the efficacy of climate change mitigation efforts.

5. BLACK CARBON

Syllabus : GS III Climate Changes , Pollution

Why in news

According to a study, the residential sector contributes 47% of India’s total black carbon emissions.

About Black carbon:

It is the dark, sooty material emitted alongside other pollutants when biomass and fossil fuels are not fully combusted.

It comprises a significant portion of particulate matter or PM, which is an air pollutant. It is a short-lived climate pollutant with a lifetime of only days to weeks after release in the atmosphere.

It is an important contributor to warming because it is very effective at absorbing light and heating its surroundings. It contributes to warming by converting incoming solar radiation to heat.

It also influences cloud formation and impacts regional circulation and rainfall patterns. When deposited on ice and snow, black carbon and co-emitted particles reduce surface albedo (the ability to reflect sunlight) and heat the surface.

It contributes to global warming and poses severe risks. Studies have found a direct link between exposure to black carbon and a higher risk of heart disease, birth complications and premature death.

It has a warming impact on climate that is 460-1,500 times stronger than CO2.

Most black carbon emissions in India arise from burning biomass, such as cow dung or straw, in traditional cookstoves.

6. MAGNETOFOSSILS

Why in news

In the depths of the Bay of Bengal, scientists have discovered a 50,000-year-old sediment — a giant magnetofossil and one of the youngest to be found yet.

About Magnetofossils:

  • These are the fossilised remains of magnetic particles created by magnetotactic bacteria, also known as magnetobacteria, and found preserved within the geological records.
  • What are Magnetotactic bacteria?
  • These are mostly prokaryotic organisms that arrange themselves along the earth’s magnetic field.
  • These organisms were believed to follow the magnetic field to reach places that had optimal oxygen concentration.
  • These bacteria contained “novel structured particles, rich in iron” in small sacs that essentially worked as a compass.
  • These magnetotactic bacteria create tiny crystals made of the iron-rich minerals magnetite or greigite. The crystals help them navigate the changing oxygen levels in the water body they reside in.

The study discovered that a sediment core retrieved from the southwestern Bay of Bengal, measuring three meters in length, primarily comprised pale green silty clays. Researchers observed abundant benthic and planktic foraminifera, which are single-celled organisms with shells found near the sea bed and in free-floating in water.

In the Bay of Bengal’s depths ranging from approximately 1,000 to 1,500 meters, there was notably low oxygen concentration. Analysis of the sediment sample confirmed fluctuations in the monsoon, evidenced by the presence of particles of magnetic minerals from distinct geological periods.

The study highlighted the significant role of rivers such as the Godavari, Mahanadi, Ganga-Brahmaputra, Cauvery, and Penner, which discharge into the Bay of Bengal, in the formation of magnetofossils. The nutrient-rich sediment carried by these rivers supplied ample reactive iron, which, combined with available organic carbon in the suboxic conditions of the Bay of Bengal, created a conducive environment formagnetotactic bacteria growth.

The freshwater discharge from these rivers, along with other oceanographic processes like eddy formation, contributed to oxygen levels in these waters, distinguishing them from typical low-oxygen zones.

Furthermore, the presence of magnetofossils indicated that the suboxic conditions of the Bay of Bengal endured for a prolonged period, allowing the bacteria to flourish.

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