SPR 2021 | Important Indices in News

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National Indices


Municipal Performance Index (MPI) 2020


  • Context:
    • Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has released the Municipal Performance Index 2020
    • It seeks to simplify and evaluate the complexities in local governance practice and promote the ethos of transparency and accountability.
  • Municipal Performance Index (MPI) 2020:
    • The MPI examined the sectoral performance of 111 municipalities (with Delhi being assessed separately for NDMC and the three Municipal Corporations) across five verticals which comprise 20 sectors and 100 indicators in all totality.
    • The five verticals under MPI are Services, Finance, Policy, Technology, and Governance.
  • Ranking of cities:
    • The assessment framework under MPI 2020 has classified municipalities based on their populationMillion+ (municipalities having over a million population) and Less than Million Population.
      1. In the Million+ category: Indore has emerged as the highest-ranked municipality, followed by Surat and Bhopal.
      2. In the Less than Million category: New Delhi Municipal Council has emerged as the leader, followed by Tirupati and Gandhinagar.

India Justice Report 2019

  • The report was recently released by Tata Trusts.
  • It is based on the four pillars of justice delivery such as police, judiciary, prisons and legal aid.
  • It collects data from publicly available data from different government entities.
  • It covered the themes like infrastructure, human resources, diversity (gender, SC/ST/OBC), budgets, workload and trends over the last 5 years.
  • Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, TISS- Prayas and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy are other partners.
  • Key findings – Maharashtra was ranked topmost among 18 states for the second time in a row, followed by Tamil Nadu and Telangana. Uttar Pradesh remains last.
  • Amongst the smaller states, Goa remained at the top and Arunachal Pradesh at the bottom.
  • Bihar leads the list of 25 states for employing most women in its police force which is 25.3%.
  • It is the only state to have more than 20% women in the police force. However, women account for only 6.1% in the officer category.
  • Tamil Nadu has the highest percentage of women police officers (24.8%), followed by Mizoram (20.1%).
  • Overall, only 29% of judges in High Courts across the country are women, but no state except Sikkim has over 20% women judges.
  • Four states – Bihar, Uttarakhand, Tripura and Meghalaya have no woman judges in high courts.
  • Karnataka is the only state to meet its quotas for SC, ST and OBC in both officer cadre and constabulary.
  • Chhattisgarh is the only other state that meets the diverse requirements for the constabulary.

The Index of Economic Freedom 2021


  • Context:
    • The Heritage Foundation releases The Index of Economic Freedom 2021.
  • About:
    • It is an annual index. This index was created in 1995 by think-tank The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal.
    • It measures the degree of economic freedom in countries across the world.
    • The Index covered economic freedoms in 184 countries.
  • Parameters:
    • The index measures 12 indicators grouped into four broad categories of economic freedom:
      • Rule of Law (property rights, government integrity, judicial effectiveness)
      • Government Size (government spending, tax burden, fiscal health)
      • Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom)
      • Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom).
    • Each of these twelve economic freedoms within these categories is graded on a scale of 0 to 100. Score 0 is the least economic freedom and score 100 is the highest economic freedom.
  • Key Findings:
    • Singapore tops the index followed by New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, and Ireland.
    • India ranked 121st in the index with a score of 56.5 points under the category of ‘mostly unfree’.
    • In Asia-Pacific, India ranked 26th among the 40 countries.

World Happiness Report 2021


  • Context:
    • The Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations released the World Happiness Report 2021, a day before the International Happiness Day.
  • About:
    • The World Happiness Report is an annual report published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network(SDSN).
    • The report ranks countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be.
    • This year it focuses on the effects of Covid-19 and how people all over the world have fared.
  • Parameters:
    • The rankings are based on polling (Gallup World Poll) which looks at six variables:
      1. Gross Domestic Product Per Capita (Purchasing Power Parity).
      2. Social Support.
      3. Healthy life expectancy at birth.
      4. Freedom to make life choices.
      5. Generosity.
      6. Perceptions of corruption.
    • Respondents are asked to rate their own current lives on a 0-10 scale.
  • Key Findings:
    • Top Performers: Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world for the fourth consecutive year.
    • Worst Performers: Afghanistan (149) is the most unhappy country.
  • Related to India:
    • India has been ranked 139 out of 149 countries in the World Happiness Report 2021.
    • In 2020, India was ranked 144 out of 156 countries.
  • Sustainable Development Network Solution:
    • The SDSN, launched in 2012, mobilizes global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical problem solving for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement.
    • It was established under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary-General.
    • The SDSN and the Bertelsmann Stiftung have been publishing the annual SDG Index & Dashboards Global Report since 2016.

International Intellectual Property (IP) Index


  • Context:
    • India ranked 40 among 53 global economies on the latest annual edition of the International Intellectual Property (IP) Index.
  • About:
    • It is an annual report released by the US Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Centre(GIPC).
  • Aim:
    • The index evaluates Intellectual Property rights in 53 global economies. These economies represent together over 90% of global GDP.
  • Parameters:
    • It ranks countries based on 50 unique indicators. These indicators are divided across nine categories of protection: 1) Patents 2) copyrights 3) trademarks 4) design rights 5) trade secrets 6) commercialization of IP assets 7) enforcement 8) systemic efficiency and 9) membership and ratification of international treaties.
  • Significance:
    • The IP Index serves as a roadmap for policymakers who look to support creativity, innovation, and economic growth through a more robust IP policy.
  • Key Findings:
    • The US, the UK, Germany, France, and Japan are the top five economies on the IP Index in 2021.
  • Related to India:
    • India has been ranked 40th in the 2021 index among the 53 global economies. In 2020 also, India was ranked 40th.
    • Among BRICS nations, India registered the second-highest growth with an overall improvement of over 13%.

Chandler Good Government Index (CGGI)


  • About the Index:
    • The Chandler Good Government Index is an annual Index, built by government practitioners, for government practitioners, measuring the capabilities and effectiveness of 104 governments around the world.
    • The Chandler Institute of Governance (CIG) is an international non-profit organisation, headquartered in Singapore.
  • The index focuses on seven pillars:
    • leadership and foresight; robust laws and policies; strong institutions; financial stewardship; attractive marketplace; global influence and reputation; and helping people rise.
  • Significance of the index:
    • Good government is a deciding factor in whether nations succeed. The Chandler Good Government Index (CGGI) shows why investing in strong government capabilities is vital to securing positive outcomes for citizens and businesses.
  • Highlights of the 2021 index:
    1. Seven of the top ten countries are in Europe, but there are four continents represented in the top ten, with Singapore first in Asia, New Zealand leading Oceania, and Canada foremost in the Americas.
    2. All of the top ten countries are high-income, as defined by the World Bank.
  • India's performance:
    1. India has been ranked 49th.

Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)


  • Context:
    • The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was at 55.5 in April 2021, little changed from March’s reading of 55.4.
  • About:
    • It is compiled by IHS Markit for more than 40 economies worldwide.
    • It is a survey-based measure that asks the respondents about changes in their perception of key business variables as compared with the previous month.
    • The purpose of the PMI is to provide information about current and future business conditions to company decision-makers, analysts, and investors.
    • It is calculated separately for the manufacturing and services sectors and then a composite index is also constructed.
  • The PMI is a number from 0 to 100:
    • A print above 50 means expansion, while a score below that denotes contraction.
    • A reading at 50 indicates no change.
  • If the PMI of the previous month is higher than the PMI of the current month, it represents that the economy is contracting.
  • It is usually released at the start of every month. It is, therefore, considered a good leading indicator of economic activity.
  • As the official data on industrial output, manufacturing and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth comes much later, PMI helps to make informed decisions at an earlier stage.

India Internet 2020

  • Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) released the report ―India Internet 2020‖.
  • Internet penetration is defined as the number of individuals aged above 12 per 100 population who accessed the Internet during a particular period.
  • The number of active internet users in the country is likely to grow nearly 45 % to 900 million by 2025 compared to 622 million as of last year, and the IAMAI-Kantar Cube report.
  • The report suggests that even though the internet penetration in urban India is over two times that in rural areas, the users in rural areas have been growing at a faster rate on a year-on-year basis.
  • Mobile continues to remain the device of choice for accessing the internet in both urban and rural areas.
  • Given the affordability of mobile devices along with the availability of cheaper data plans, accessing the internet through a mobile device has clearly become the first choice.

Health in India Report 

  • About:
    • Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has released the report of a survey titled 'Health in India‘.
    • The objective of the report is to gather basic quantitative information on India‘s health sector.
    • The survey defines ailment as any deviation from a person‘s state of physical and mental well-being.
    • The 'Proportion of Persons who Responded as Ailing‘, or PPRA, in a 15-day period when they were approached
    • by the surveyors, were registered as those suffering from ailments.

The findings of the report are as follows:

  1. Around 7.5 % of Indians reported that they were suffering from ailments.
  2. While in rural India only 6.8 % said that they were suffering from an ailment, this number in urban India was 9.1 %
  3. The Zoroastrian community remains the most susceptible to ailments (31.1 % of them were suffering from an ailment)
  4. The survey shows that women remain more susceptible to suffering from ailments than men.
  5. In rural India, 6.1 % of males said that they were suffering from ailments, while 7.6 % of rural women said the same.
  6. While 8.2 % of urban males said that they were sick, 10 % of urban females said the same.

India Energy Outlook 2021

  • This report – released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) – has forecasted that India will overtake the European Union as the world‘s third-largest energy consumer by 2030.
  • [At present, India is the 4th-largest global energy consumer behind China, the US and the European Union.]
  • It is based on the forecast that India accounts for the biggest share of energy demand growth over the next two decades.
  • India‘s primary energy consumption would double as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expands to USD 8.6 trillion by 2040.
  • India accounts for one-quarter of global energy demand growth from 2019-40 – the largest for a country.
  • Its share in the growth in renewable energy is the second-largest in the world, after China.

India TB Report 2020

  • The report was released recently by the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare.
  • According to the report, National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme has comprehensively moved closer to near-complete online notification of all TB cases in the country through the NIKSHAY portal.
  • Under the programme, in 2019, Nagaland and Tripura have been awarded for being the best performing among small states (Population – less than 50 lakh)
  • Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh were awarded as best performing States among larger states (Population – more than 50 lakh)
  • Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu were chosen as the best performers in the category of Union Territory.

India Workplace Equality Index

  • This index is India‘s first comprehensive benchmarking tool for employers to measure their progress on LGBT+ inclusion at the workplace.
  • Non-profit Keshav Suri Foundation has partnered with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Pride Circle and Stonewall UK, to bring the IWEI to India Inc.
  • The index measures nine areas: policies and benefits, employee lifecycle, employee network group, allies and role models, senior leadership, monitoring, procurement, community engagement and additional work.
  • There are three categories of IWEI: Gold, silver and bronze categories.
  • The IWEI comes two years after the Supreme Court‘s landmark reading down of Section 377.

India Innovation Index Report 2020

  • Initiated by NITI Aayog in 2019, this report is on the lines of the Global Innovation Index (GII), which ranks countries annually.
  • The indicators include the level and quality of education, number of highly skilled professionals, investment in R&D, FDI inflows, internet subscribers, number of patents and trademark applications filed, etc.,
  • Innovation Index is divided into three categories—major states, Union Territories, and hill and North East states.
    • 1. Karnataka is ranked the most innovative among major states.
    • 2. Delhi topped the category among Union Territories.
    • 3. Delhi stood out as the top performer among both states and UTs.
    • 4. Amongst North East and hill states, Himachal Pradesh topped.
  • The findings of the report pointed out that there is a North-South divide, with the southern states have fared much better.

SDG India Index

  • Context:
    • The third edition of the SDG India Index and Dashboard 2020–21 was released by NITI Aayog.
  • SDG India Index
    • The index measures the progress at the national and sub-national level in the country’s journey towards meeting the Global Goals and targets.
    • It has been successful as an advocacy tool to propagate the messages of sustainability, resilience, and partnerships, as well.
    • From covering 13 Goals39 targets, and 62 indicators in the first edition in 2018-19 to 17 Goals, 54 targets and 100 indicators in the second; this third edition of the index covers 17 Goals, 70 targets, and 115 indicators.
  • States and Union Territories are classified as below based on their SDG India Index score:
    • Aspirant: 0–49
    • Performer: 50–64
    • Front-Runner: 65–99
    • Achiever: 100
  • Read More:

Performance Grading Index (PGI)

  • Context:
    • The Union Education Minister has approved the release of the Performance Grading Index (PGI) 2019-20 for States and Union Territories.
    • The PGI is a tool to provide insights on the status of school education in States and UTs including key levers that drive their performance and critical areas for improvement.
  • About the Performance Grading Index (PGI):
    • The PGI for States and Union Territories was first published in 2019 with the reference year 2017-18.
    • The PGI: States/UTs for 2019-20 is the third publication in this series.

  • Implementing Agency:
    • It is initiated by the Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL).
  • Important Findings of the PGI 2019-20:
    • State-wise Performance:
      • This shows that 33 States and UTs have improved their PGI scores in 2019-20 compared to the previous year.
      • Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Puducherry, Punjab and Tamil Nadu have improved their overall PGI scores by 10%.
    • Inter-state Differential:
      • On a maximum possible of 1000 points, the range between the States and UTs with the highest and the lowest score is more than 380 points in the year 2019-20.
      • Domain-wise Performance:
        • Access: Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep and Punjab have shown improvement of 10% or more in the ‘Access’ domain.
        • Infrastructure and Facilities: Thirteen states and UTs have shown improvement by 10% or more in ‘Infrastructure and Facilities’ while Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Odisha have improved their scores in the domain by 20% or more.
    • Equity:
      • In ‘Equity, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Odisha have shown an improvement of more than 10%.
    • Governance Process:
      • 19 states have shown improvement by 10% or more.
      • Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal have shown improvement by at least 20%.


International Indices


World Justice Project

  • Context:
    • A petition was filed in the Supreme Court asking the Court to direct the government to set up expert panels to boost India’s prospects in the Rule of Law Index.
  • Why in news again?
    • India has never been ranked even among the top 50 in the Index, but successive governments did nothing to improve the international ranking of India, said the petition.
    • The cause of action for the petition accrued when the World Justice Project ranked India in the 69th position in its Rule of Law Index.
    • Poor rule of law has a devastating effect on the right to life, liberty, economic justice, fraternity, individual dignity, and national integration.
  • What is the Rule of Law index?
    • Released by the World Justice Project- an independent organization.
    • It is a quantitative assessment tool designed to offer a detailed and comprehensive picture of the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law in practice.
    • The index covers 128 countries.
  • How are countries ranked?
    • It measures countries’ rule of law performance across eight factors:
    • (1) Constraints on Government Powers, (2) Absence of Corruption, (3) Open Government, (4) Fundamental Rights, (5) Order and Security, (6) Regulatory Enforcement, (7) Civil Justice, and (8) Criminal Justice.
  • How is rule of law defined?
    • The World Justice Project defines the rule of law system as one in which the following four universal principles are upheld:
      1. The government and its officials and agents are accountable under the law.
      2. The laws are clear, publicized, stable, and fair, and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property.
      3. The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, efficient, and fair.
      4. Justice is delivered by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS)

  • Context:
    • The 17th edition of the QS World University Rankings has been released.
  • What are QS World University rankings?
    • It is an annual publication of University rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS)- A British company specialising in the analysis of higher education institutions around the world. Previously, it was called Times Higher Education – QS World University rankings. The name has changed since 2010.
    • It is the only international ranking to have received the approval of the International Ranking Expert Group (IREG).
    • It rates the world's top 1000 universities.
  • How are universities ranked?
    • To rank institutions, QS uses six indicators:
      1. Academic reputation.
      2. Employer reputation.
      3. Faculty/student ratio.
      4. Citations per faculty.
      5. International faculty ratio.
      6. International student ratio.
  • Performance of Indian Institutions:
    1. The top three from India featured in the top 200 and their rankings: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay (172), followed closely by Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore (185), and IIT Delhi (193).
      • However, all three have dropped in their rankings compared to the last year.
    2. In total, 21 Indian higher education institutions have found their place among the world’s top 1,000 (It was 24 last year). Of these 21, 14 have fallen in rank over the past 12 months, while four have improved their position.
    3. Indian higher education institutions perform strongly in research quality, even though they fail to increase their academic standing, teaching capacity, and levels of internationalisation at the same rate as their global competitors.



  • Context:
    • 2020 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report released by UNESCO.
    • In line with its mandate, the 2020 GEM Report assesses progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on education and its ten targets, as well as other related education targets in the SDG agenda.
  • Key findings:
    • COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities in education systems across the world. About 40% of low-and lower-middle-income countries have not supported learners at risk of exclusion during this crisis, such as the poor, linguistic minorities, and learners with disabilities.
    • Efforts to maintain learning continuity during the pandemic may have actually worsened exclusion trends.
    • During the height of school closures in April 2020, almost 91% of students around the world were out of school.
  • Issues with alternatives:
    • Education systems responded with distance learning solutions, all of which offered less or more imperfect substitutes for classroom instruction.
    • Many poorer countries opted for radio and television lessons, 55% of low-income, 73% of lower-middle-income, and 93% of upper-middle-income countries adopted for online learning platforms for primary and secondary education.
    • Even as governments increasingly rely on technology, the digital divide lays bare the limitations of this approach. Not all students and teachers have access to an adequate internet connection, equipment, skills, and working conditions to take advantage of available platforms.
    • School closures also interrupted support mechanisms from which many disadvantaged learners benefit.
    • Resources for blind and deaf students may not be available outside schools.
    • Children with learning disabilities or those who are on the autism spectrum may struggle with independent work in front of a computer or the disruption of daily school routines.

U.S. State Department

  • Context:
    • The U.S. State Department has released its annual International Religious Freedom (IRF) Report.
  • What is it?
    • The annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom, also known as the International Religious Freedom Report, describes the status of religious freedom, government policies violating religious beliefs and practices of groups, religious denominations and individuals, and U.S. policies promoting religious freedom.
    • The report is a survey of the state of religious freedom across the world.
  • Observations made on Religious freedom in India:
    1. The report takes note of the change in the status of Jammu and Kashmir, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act(CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
    2. It discusses in detail mob lynchings and anti-conversion laws and related issues.
    3. Lawmakers failed: The report notes, Issues of religiously inspired mob violence, lynching, and communal violence were sometimes denied or ignored by lawmakers.
    4. It details incidents of “cow vigilantism” and other types of mob violence.
    5. The report also takes note of the Babri Masjid decision by the Supreme Court and the challenges to the 2018 reversal of a ban on some women entering the Sabarimala temple.
  • Impact and implications:
    • The report outlines the U.S. engagement with India on the issues.
    • USCIRF had, in April, recommended to the Secretary of State that the State Department downgrade India’s religious freedom to the lowest grade — ‘Country of Particular Concern (CPC)’. 

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

  • Context:
    • A new yearbook was released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
    • The yearbook “assesses the current state of armaments, disarmament and international security”.
  • What is SIPRI?
    • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) established in 1966 is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control, and disarmament.
    • Based in Stockholm the Institute provides data, analysis, and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media, and the interested public.
  • What has it said in its latest report?
    • India and its neighbours:
      1. All nations that have nuclear weapons continue to modernise their nuclear arsenals, while India and China increased their nuclear warheads in the last year.
      2. China is in the middle of a significant modernisation of its nuclear arsenal. China’s nuclear arsenal had gone up from 290 warheads in 2019 to 320 in 2020.
      3. China is developing a so-called nuclear triad for the first time, made up of new land and sea-based missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft.
      4. India’s nuclear arsenal went up from 130-140 in 2019 to 150 in 2020.
      5. Pakistan, too, is slowly increasing the size and diversity of the nuclear forces. It has reached 160 in 2020.
      6. Both China and Pakistan continue to have larger nuclear arsenals than India.
  • Global scenario:
    1. Together with the nine nuclear-armed states — the U.S., Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — possessed an estimated 13,400 nuclear weapons at the start of 2020, which marked a decrease from an estimated 13,865 nuclear weapons at the beginning of 2019.
    2. The decrease in the overall numbers was largely due to the dismantlement of old nuclear weapons by Russia and the U.S., which together possess over 90% of the global nuclear weapons.

United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees

  • Context:
    • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has released its annual Global Trends report before World Refugee Day (20th June).
  • Key Highlights:
    • The report shows that an unprecedented 79.5 million were displaced as of the end of 2019. UNHCR has not seen a higher total.
    • The report also notes diminishing prospects for refugees when it comes to hopes of any quick end to their plight.
    • In the 1990s, on average 1.5 million refugees were able to return home each year.
    • Over the past decade, that number has fallen to around 385,000, meaning that growth in displacement is today far outstripping solutions.
    • Of the 79.5 million who were displaced at the end of last year, 45.7 million were people who had fled to other areas of their own countries.
    • The rest were people displaced elsewhere, 4.2 million of them being people awaiting the outcome of asylum requests, while 29.6 million were refugees and others forcibly displaced outside their country.
    • 100 million people at least were forced to flee their homes in the past decade, seeking refugees either in or outside their countries.
    • That’s more people fleeing than the entire population of Egypt, the world’s 14th most populous country.
    • Forced displacement has almost doubled since 2010 (41 million then vs 79.5 million now).
    • 80% of the world’s displaced people are in countries or territories affected by acute food insecurity and malnutrition – many of the countries facing climate and other disaster risks.
    • More than three-quarters of the world’s refugees (77%) are caught up in situations of long-term displacement– for example, the situation in Afghanistan, now in its fifth decade.
    • More than eight of every 10 refugees (85%) are in developing countries, generally a country neighbouring the one they fled.
    • Five countries account for two-thirds of people displaced across borders: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Myanmar.
    • Global Trends Report counts all major displaced and refugee populations, including the 5.6 million Palestine refugees who fall under the care of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine.
    • The 2030 Sustainable Development commitment of “leaving no one behind” now explicitly includes refugees, thanks to a new indicator on refugees approved by the UN Statistical Commission in March this year.
    • There are around 1,95,105 refugees in India at the end of 2019.
  • About UNCHR:
    • UNHCR is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights, and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities, and stateless people.
    • It was created in 1950, during the aftermath of the Second World War, to help millions of Europeans who had fled or lost their homes

World Drug Report


  • Context:
    • The fourth highest opium seizure in 2018 was reported from India.
  • Released by:
    • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
  • Findings of the latest World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):
    • The fourth highest seizure of opium in 2018 was reported from India, after Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
    • A maximum of 644 tonnes of opium was seized in Iran, followed by 27 tonnes in Afghanistan and 19 tonnes in Pakistan.
    • In terms of heroin seizure (1.3 tonnes), India was at the 12th position in the world.
    • The global area under opium poppy cultivation declined for the second year in a row in 2019. It went down by 17% in 2018 and by 30% in 2019.
    • The main opiate trafficking flows originate from three key production areas: Afghanistan, Myanmar-Laos, and Mexico-Colombia-Guatemala.

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index

  • Context:
    • NITI Aayog is in the last stage for the preparation of the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) parameter dashboard and a State Reform Action Plan (SRAP).
    • In this regard, the Niti Aayog will leverage the monitoring mechanism of the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index.
    • NITI Aayog is the nodal agency for the MPI.
  • Part of the “Global Indices to Drive Reforms and Growth (GIRG)” exercise:
    • Global MPI is part of the Government of India’s decision to monitor the performance of the country in 29 select Global Indices.
    • The objective of the “Global Indices to Drive Reforms and Growth (GIRG)” exercise is to fulfil the need to measure and monitor India’s performance on various important social and economic parameters.
    • This will enable the utilization of these Indices as tools for self-improvement, bring about reforms in policies while improving last-mile implementation of government schemes.
  • What is MPI?
    • Global MPI is an international measure of multidimensional poverty.
    • It covers 107 developing countries.
    • It was first developed in 2010 by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for UNDP’s Human Development Reports.
  • When is it released?
    • The Global MPI is released at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development of the United Nations in July, every year.
  • How are the countries ranked?
    • Global MPI is computed by scoring each surveyed household on 10 parameters based on -nutrition, child mortality, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, and household assets.
  • Performance of India and its neighbours in MPI 2020:
    • India is 62nd among 107 countries with an MPI score of 0.123 and a 27.91% headcount ratio, based on the NFHS 4 (2015/16) data.
    • Neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka (25th), Bhutan (68th), Nepal (65th), Bangladesh (58th), China (30th), Myanmar (69th), and Pakistan (73rd) are also ranked in this index.

The Human Capital Index 2020


  • Context:
    • The World Bank has recently released the report titled ‘The Human Capital Index 2020 Update: Human Capital in the Time of COVID-19’.
  • About the report:
    • The 2020 Human Capital Index update includes health and education data for 174 countries (additional 17 counties relative to the 2018 edition) — covering 98 percent of the world’s population — up to March 2020.
    • Since the cutoff date for the 2020 update is March 2020, before the consequences of COVID-19, the HCI 2020 can be a baseline to track some of the effects of COVID-19 on human capital.
  • What is Human Capital?
    • Human capital consists of the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate over their lives, enabling them to realize their potential as productive members of society.
    • Human capital is intangible and is endogenously built in the body and mind of its owner. Only the services of human capital are sold.
    • Sources of human capital formation include- Expenditure on education Health, on the job training, study programmes for adults, Migration in search of jobs with better salaries, expenditure on information relating to the labour market and other markets, etc.
  • Significance of Human Capital:
    • For individuals and families:
      • Higher earnings and improved standard of living
      • Generational returns: Benefits of human capital transcend private returns, extending to others and across generations.
    • For societies:
      • Building social capital: Investing in human capital enhances social cohesion and equity while strengthening people’s trust in institutions. Its yield productive outcomes in all aspects of society, for example-
        • An educated person can effectively take part in a democratic process and surveys typically find that more educated people are more trusting of others.
        • A healthy person, by maintaining personal hygiene and sanitation, stops the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics.
      • Incremental results on Human Capital: Societies need sufficient human capital in the form of competent people who have themselves been educated and trained as professors and other professionals to produce other human capital.
    • For countries:
      • Human capital complements physical capital in the production process as people with higher human capital can use physical capital more effectively and adapt faster to technological change.
      • Education provides knowledge to understand changes in society and scientific advancements, thus, facilitate inventions and innovations.
      • People are more productive when they are healthier and appropriately trained. This enhanced productivity of human beings contributes substantially towards increasing labour productivity and the economic growth of a nation.
      • It is a central driver of sustainable growth and poverty reduction.
  • Key findings:
    • Global HCI: Globally, a child could expect to attain an average of 56 percent of her potential productivity as a future worker.
    • Considerable variation across regions and economies: For instance, a child born in a low-income country has an HCI of 0.37 as compared to 0.7 in a high-income country.
    • Measuring Learning Poverty: It is the share of 10-year-olds who cannot read and understand a simple story. Around 53 percent of children in low- and middle-income countries suffer from learning poverty.
    • Disaggregation of the HCI by gender: Human capital is slightly higher among girls than boys in most countries.
    • Underutilization of Human capital among women: The gender gap in employment rates (a basic measure of utilization) is 20 percentage points on average worldwide, but exceeds 40 percentage points in South Asia and the Middle East, and North Africa.
      • Underutilization means that future workers may not be able to find a job, and even if they can, it might not be a job where they can fully use their skills and cognitive abilities to increase their productivity.
      • This suggests that, while gender gaps in human capital in childhood and adolescence have closed (especially for education), major challenges remain to translate these gains into opportunities for women.
  • India Specific findings:
    • India ranked 116th among 174 countries as compared to 115 out of 157 countries in 2018.
    • India’s HCI score increased to 0.49 from 0.44 in 2018.
    • India is among the only two countries (the other being Tonga), where child survival rates are higher for girls than for boys.
    • India experienced a 13-percentage-point decline in stunting rates for children under 5 from 48 percent in 2010 to 35 percent in 2020.

World Economic Outlook report

(Released by International Monetary Fund)


  • Context:
    • World Economic Outlook October 2020 report titled, “A Long and Difficult Ascent” was recently released.
  • Released by:
    • International Monetary Fund
    • According to the report, Global output is projected to shrink by 4.4% in 2020.
    • By 2021, global growth is expected to be moderate at 3.5% in the medium term.
  • Key findings for India:
    • India’s economy is expected to contract 10.3% in the current fiscal year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • There will be a downgrade of 5.8 percentage points from its June forecast. 
    • It is expected to rebound in April 2021 with 8.8% growth — an upgrade of 2.8% compared to the June update.
    • Consumer prices are expected to grow at 4.9% in 2020 and by 3.7% in 2021.
    • The current account balance is projected to grow by 0.3% in 2020 and -0.9% in 2021.

South Asia Economic Focus

(Released by World Bank)

  • Context:
    • South Asia Economic Focus report released by the World Bank.
  • Title of the edition: 
    • “Beaten or Broken? Informality and Covid-19”.
  • Key takeaways:
    • The report includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
    • It predicts that the extended closure of schools amid the Covid-19 pandemic could reduce India’s future earnings by between 420 billion USD and 600 billion USD.
    • This is so because depleted learning levels of students will translate into poorer productivity.
    • Impacts on the Economy
    • Impact on Informal Sector: The report has flagged damage to businesses, consumption patterns, and imposed social hardship on poor and vulnerable households, especially urban migrants and informal workers in the South Asia region. 
  • GDP:
    • The regional GDP of the South Asia region is estimated to contract by 7.7% in 2020. India’s GDP can contract by 9.6% in 2020-21.
    • Labour productivity will also take a greater hit from Covid-19 than most previous natural disasters.

World Energy Outlook, 2020

(Released by International Energy Agency)

  • Context:
    • Recently, the International Energy Agency released the World Energy Outlook 2020 report
  • About:
    • World Energy Outlook, the IEA’s flagship publication, provides a comprehensive view of how the global energy system could develop in the coming decades.
    • International Energy Agency is an autonomous intergovernmental organization established in the framework of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1974 to help countries collectively respond to oil supply disruptions.
    • It is headquartered in Paris.
    • The framework was anchored in the IEA treaty called the “Agreement on an International Energy Program”.
  • Members:
    • IEA is made up of 30 member countries and 8 association countries.
    • India became an Associate Member in 2017.
    • A candidate country to the IEA must be a member country of the OECD.
  • Other Publications:
    • Global Energy & CO2 Status Report.
  • Key findings:
    • Impact of COVID 19: Immediate effects of the pandemic on the energy system shows the following expected declines in 2020:
      • 5% in global energy demand,
      • 7% in energy-related CO2 emissions and
      • 18% in energy investment.
      • 20% in oil consumption
    • Demand for renewable energy:
      • Renewables are less affected than other fuels by the pandemic and its aftermath. Renewables will meet 90% of the strong growth in global electricity demand over the next two decades, led by continued high levels of solar PV deployment. By 2040, coal’s share in global energy demand dips below 20% for the first time in modern energy history.
    • Structural fall in global coal demand:
      • Coal phase-out policies, the rise of renewables, and competition from natural gas lead to the retirement of 275 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired capacity worldwide by 2025 (13% of the 2019 total)
    • Oil Demand:
      • Rising incomes in emerging markets and developing economies create strong underlying demand for mobility, offsetting reductions in oil use elsewhere.
    • Electricity grids:
      • There is a disparity in many countries between the spending required for smart, digital, and flexible electricity networks and the revenues available to grid operators.
  • India’s Energy Outlook
    • Electricity access: 
      • The government has been supporting the expansion of distribution grid infrastructure across India to foster electricity access in villages.
      • It provides budgetary support (grants) to state government DISCOMs under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (in rural areas), the Saubhagya scheme (last-mile connectivity to households), and the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) (in urban areas).
    • Cleaner energy:
      • India continues to promote cleaner cooking and off-grid electrification solutions, including a shift toward using solar photovoltaics (PV) for cooking and charging batteries.
    • Energy Affordability:
      • The government provides large-scale public subsidies to ensure access to electricity, energy, and clean cooking for its population. Subsidies are designed for the purpose of social support and economic development.
      • PAHAL, also known as the Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG scheme, sends the subsidy for the LPG purchased directly to a citizen’s bank account.
    • Energy Efficiency:
      • Allowing private-sector investment in coal mining, opening the country’s oil and gas retail markets. And the creation of functioning energy markets will ensure economic efficiency in the management of the coal, gas, and power sectors.
      • India is improving the energy efficiency of buildings through mandatory building energy codes and voluntary rating schemes, as well as through policies and programmes to improve the efficiency of appliances and equipment.
      • The use of green bulk procurement (for instance of LED light bulbs) has helped accelerate energy savings.

Global Hunger Index

(Jointly published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe)

  • Context:
    • According to the Global Hunger Index, India has the highest prevalence of wasted children under five years in the world, which reflects acute undernutrition.
  • About:
    • India ranks 94 out of 107 countries in the Index, lower than neighbours such as Bangladesh (75) and Pakistan (88).
    • The situation has worsened in the 2015-19 period, when the prevalence of child wasting was 17.3%, in comparison to 2010-14, when it was 15.1%.
    • India fares worst in child wasting (low weight for height, reflecting acute undernutrition), which together make up a third of the total score.
    • It has been brought out almost every year by Welthungerhilfe lately in partnerships with Concern Worldwide since 2000.
    • The reason for mapping hunger is to ensure that the world achieves “Zero Hunger by 2030”- one of the SDGs laid out by the United Nations.
    • A low score gets a country a higher ranking and implies better performance.
    • GHI looks at four indicators:
      • Undernourishment- which reflects inadequate food availability
      • Child Wasting- which reflects chronic undernutrition
      • Child stunting- which reflects chronic undernutrition
      • Child Mortality- which reflects both inadequate nutrition and an unhealthy environment.

Academic Freedom Index

  • Context:
    • India has scored considerably low in the international Academic Freedom Index (AFI) with a score of 0.352.
  • About:
    • It has been published by Global Public Policy Institute as a part of a global time-series dataset (1900-2019) in close cooperation with Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Scholars at Risk and the V‑Dem Institute.
    • It compares levels of academic freedom worldwide and enhances the understanding of its curtailments.
    • The AFI used eight components to evaluate the scores: freedom to research and teach, freedom of academic exchange and dissemination, institutional autonomy, campus integrity, freedom of academic and cultural expression, constitutional protection of academic freedom, international legal commitment to academic freedom under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the existence of universities.
  • Top Performers:
    • Uruguay and Portugal top the AFI, with scores of 0.971 each, followed closely by Latvia (0.964) and Germany (0.960).
  • India’s performance:
    • India with a score of 0.352, is closely followed by Saudi Arabia (0.278) and Libya (0.238).
    • In the last five years, the AFI of India has dipped by 0.1 points.
    • India has not fared well in components like institutional autonomy, campus integrity, freedom of academic and cultural expression and constitutional protection of academic freedom.
    • According to the Report, political tensions in India have led to violent altercations between students, security forces, and off-campus groups, and have driven legal actions and disciplinary measures against scholars critical of those in power

Human Freedom Index 2020


  • Context:
    • The Human Freedom Index 2020, a worldwide ranking of civil, economic and personal freedom, was released recently.
  • About:
    • The index was published by the American think tank Cato Institute and Fraser Institute in Canada.
    • It takes into account 76 indicators of personal, civil, and economic freedoms to rank 162 countries from 2008 to 2018.
  • India's performance:
    • It placed India at the 111th spot out of 162 countries.
    • India ranked 94 on the index in 2019.
    • India is ahead of China and Bangladesh, which ranked 129 and 139 on the 2020 index respectively.
  • Global Performances:
    • New Zealand, Switzerland and Hong Kong bagged the first three spots.
    • However, Hong Kong’s rank is expected to decline in the future, because of China’s “aggressive interventions” in the region in 2019 and 2020.
    • War-torn Syria ranked the last on the list.
    • The world has seen a notable decline in personal freedom since 2008.
    • The report continues to find a strong, positive relationship between freedom and prosperity, but also finds that there is an unequal distribution of freedom in the world.
  • India's performances in various other indices:
    • India has dropped on several global freedom indexes:
      1. Democracy watchdog Freedom House’s report in October showed that internet freedom in India declined for a third straight year in 2019-’20.
      2. The Global Economic Freedom Index 2020 released in September showed India drop 26 spots from 79 to 105.
      3. The World Press Freedom Index, which was released in April, saw India slip two places. India ranked 142 on the index comprising 180 countries and territories.

Human Development Index  


  • Context:
    • India was ranked 129 out of 189 countries on the 2019 Human Development Index (HDI) improving from the 130th position in 2018.
    • HDI is part of the Human Development Report that is published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • Human Development Index
    • HDI emphasizes that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone.
    • HDI measures the average achievement of a country in three basic dimensions of human development:
      • A long and healthy life,
      • Access to knowledge, and
      • A decent standard of living.
  • Top Performers in 2019:
    • Norway, Switzerland, Ireland occupied the top three positions in that order.
    • Germany is placed fourth along with Hong Kong, and Australia secured the fifth rank on the global ranking.

Inclusive Internet Index 2021


  • Context:
    • Inclusive Internet Index 2021 has been released.
  • About:
    • It is Released by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), in partnership with Facebook.
    • It seeks to measure the extent of accessibility and affordability of the Internet. Also, the internet should be able to enable positive social and economic outcomes at the individual and group levels.
    • The index assesses the performance of 120 countries representing 98% of global GDP and 96% of the global population.
  • Categories:
    • The Index score is based on the scores of 4 categories;
      • Availability
      • Affordability
      • Relevance
      • Readiness
  • Key Findings:
    • It is Topped by Sweden ranks 1st in the index, followed by the US and Spain.
    • India’s Rank is 49th out of 120 countries in the Index.
    • India is set to reach one billion internet users by 2025. There were over 687.6 million internet users in India in 2020.

World Press Freedom Index


  • Context:
    • The World Press Freedom Index 2021 has been released by the media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders.
    • Norway topped the index for the fifth year in a row.
    • The report labelled 132 countries as “very bad”, “bad” or “problematic”.
    • It stated that the pandemic was used as means to deny journalists this access and promote government-sponsored propaganda regarding the Covid-19 outbreak.
  • Performance of India and neighbours:
    • India remained at the 142nd position among 180 countries.
    • India was ranked in the “bad” category, along with Brazil, Mexico, and Russia.
    • The report says India is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists trying to do their job properly.
    • In 2016, India’s rank was 133, which has steadily climbed down to 142 in 2020.
    • India drew flak for “extremely violent social media hate campaigns” against journalists who “dare to criticise” the government.
  • About World Press Freedom Index:
    • Published annually by Reporters Without Borders since 2002, the World Press Freedom Index measures the level of media freedom in 180 countries.
    • It is based on an evaluation of media freedom that measures pluralism, media independence, the quality of the legal framework, and the safety of journalists.
    • It also includes indicators of the level of media freedom violations in each region.
    • It is compiled by means of a questionnaire in 20 languages that are completed by experts all over the world. This qualitative analysis is combined with quantitative data on abuses and acts of violence against journalists during the period evaluated.

WEF’s global gender gap report


  • Context:
    • World Economic Forum has released the Global Gender Gap Report 2021.
  • India specific findings:
    1. Overall Ranking: India has fallen 28 places- it is now ranked 140 among 156 countries.
    2. Among Neighbours: It is now one of the worst performers in South Asia, trailing behind neighbours Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.
    3. Political empowerment: India has declined on the political empowerment index as well by 13.5 percentage points.
    4. In the index of education attainment, India has been ranked at 114.
    5. India has fared the worst on “Health and Survival”, which includes the sex ratio, and economic participation of women.
    6. The estimated earned income of women in India is only one-fifth of men’s, which puts the country among the bottom 10 globally on this indicator.
  • Global Scenario:
    • For the 12th time, Iceland is the most gender-equal country in the world.
    • The top 10 most gender-equal countries include Finland, Norway, New Zealand, Rwanda, Sweden, Ireland, and Switzerland.
    • Many countries have fared worse in this year’s rankings compared to last year’s, on account of economic performance.
    • The gender gap in political empowerment remains the largest: women represent only 26.1 percent of some 35,500 parliament seats and just 22.6 percent of over 3,400 ministers worldwide.
    • In 81 countries, there has never been a woman head of state, as of January 15, 2021.
    • Bangladesh is “the only country where more women have held head-of-state positions than men in the past 50 years.
    • The countries with the largest gender gaps in economic participation include Iran, India, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
  • About the Global Gender Gap Report:
    • First published in 2006.
    • It benchmarks 156 countries on their progress towards gender parity in four dimensions:
      1. Economic Participation and Opportunity,
      2. Educational Attainment,
      3. Health and Survival and
      4. Political Empowerment.
    • Over the Index, the highest possible score is 1 (equality) and the lowest possible score is 0 (inequality).

World Food Price Index


  • Context:
    • According to the index, world food prices have increased for the 11th consecutive month in April. Further, the prices also hit their highest level since May 2014.
  • About:
    • It is Released by The Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO).
    • It was introduced in 1996 as a public good to help in monitoring developments in the global agricultural commodity markets.
    • The index is a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities.
    • It consists of the average of five commodity group price indices. Such as cereal, vegetables, dairy, meat and sugar. Also, these five indices are given weightage based on the average export shares.
    • The Base Year for the index is 2014-16.

World Giving Index 2021


  • Context:
    • The World Giving Index (WGI) is an annual report published by the Charities Aid Foundation. The report is the world's largest survey of charitable endeavours from around the world. The first edition was released in September 2010.
  • About:
    • The report looks at three aspects of giving behaviour:
      1. Helped a stranger
      2. Donated money to a charity
      3. Volunteered time to an organization
    • Latest findings:
      • The most generous country in the world is Indonesia.
      • Australia and New Zealand are the only high-income countries to remain in this year’s Top 10.
      • India is the 14th most charitable country.

Cyber Security Index (GCI) 2020


  • Context:
    • The United Nations specialised agency for information and communication technologies — International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has released the Global Cyber Security Index (GCI) 2020.
  • About the index:
    • The index is a trusted reference that measures the commitment of countries to cybersecurity at a global level.
    • Countries are measured along five pillars, namely, legal measures, technical measures, organisational measures, capacity development, and cooperation to generate an overall score.
    • The countries were asked 82 questions where 20 indicators were measured.
  • Performance of India and its neighbours:
    • India is placed in the 10th spot. In 2018, it was ranked on the 47th spot. It was ranked rank 47 in 2019.
    • In the Asia-Pacific region, India secured the 4th spot.
    • Neighbours China and Pakistan were ranked at 33 and 79, respectively.
  • Top 5 Countries:
    1. The US.
    2. The UK and Saudi Arabia.
    3. Estonia.
    4. South Korea, Singapore and Spain.
    5. Russia, United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.
  • General challenges ahead for the countries worldwide:
    • Digital gaps amongst nations create an unsustainable environment in the cyber domain.
    • Growing digital reliance in the post-COVID era has exposed digital disparities which must be bridged through capacity building.
    • There's a sophisticated use of cyberspace by terrorists to broaden their propaganda and incite hatred.
  • How is India tackling its cybersecurity threats?
    • India is working on its first Cyber Security Strategy.
    • Computer Emergency Response Teams or CERT is responsible for coordinating and supporting the response to computer security events or incidents on the national or government level.
    • An online cybercrime reporting portal has been launched to enable complainants to report complaints pertaining to Child Pornography/Child Sexual Abuse Material, rape/gang rape imageries or sexually explicit content.
    • A scheme for the establishment of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) has been established to handle issues related to cybercrime in the country in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.
    • Establishment of National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) for protection of critical information infrastructure in the country.


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