Daily News Analysis 03 & 04 September 2023 (The Hindu)

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Here are the topics covered for 03 & 04 September 2023: Measuring Hunder across the states, Status of the Right to Information Act, What is the Debate Around ‘One Nation, One Election’?, Centre’s DIKSHA Education Platform to Offer AI Help, Fiscally Imprudent Policies and Populism Affect the Poor, ‘GDP-centric view changing to human-centric one, The Northern Plains of India are the Most Polluted Region, Article 371 D was promulgated to safeguard the rights of local students in education.


Table of Contents:


  1. Measuring Hunder across the states.
  2. Status of the Right to Information Act.
  3. What is the Debate Around ‘One Nation, One Election’?
  4. Centre’s DIKSHA Education Platform to Offer AI Help.



  1. Fiscally Imprudent Policies and Populism Affect the Poor.
  2. ‘GDP-centric view changing to human-centric one.
  3. The Northern Plains of India are the Most Polluted Region.


Facts for Prelims

  1. Article 371 D was promulgated to safeguard the rights of local students in education.



Measuring Hunder across the states

Context: The Global Hunger Index (GHI), 2022, ranked India 107 among 121 countries, behind Nigeria (103) and Pakistan (99).


About GHI:

  1. The GHI provides a composite measurement and tracks undernourishment and hunger at the national level across three dimensions: calorie undernourishment, child malnutrition, and under­five mortality.
  2. four indicators, the prevalence of calorie undernourishment; and of stunting, wasting, and mortality among children below the age of five; and under­ five mortality rate.


GHI and India:

  1. Over the last half a decade, India’s GHI score has deteriorated primarily due to the increasing prevalence of calorie undernourishment.
  2. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the proportion of calorie undernourishment in India has been escalating since 2017, reaching 16.3% in 2020, equivalent to the 2009 statistic.
  3. India’s poor performance in the GHI is primarily attributed to its high prevalence of undernourishment and child malnutrition.
  4. India ranks unfavorably in child wasting, performing worse than many low­income African nations.
  5. The NFHS­-5 indicated that one­third of children under the age of five are stunted and underweight, while every fifth child suffers from wasting.
  6. Despite India’s notable progress in alleviating extreme poverty over the last 15 years, as indicated by the recent National.


Another Report and India’s Status:

  1. According to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report of 2022, India is home to 224.3 million undernourished people.


Why do we need to Develop our Own Hunger Index:

  1. Leveraging subnational data that encompasses the three dimensions of the GHI enables the development of an India­specific hunger index at the level of States and Union Territories.
  2. This plays a pivotal role in evaluating the extent of undernourishment at a more localized scale, which is critical for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals of eradicating hunger and malnutrition.
  3. Making State Hunger Index by using the same 4 indicators of GHI except calorie undernourishment, which is replaced by body mass index (BMI)
  4. Undernourishment among the working­age population, as data on calorie undernourishment have not available since 2012.


Key Data:

  1. Data for stunting, wasting, and mortality among children below the age of five are sourced from the fifth round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS­5).
  2. The prevalence of BMI undernourishment is computed using NFHS­5 (2019­-21) and Wave 1 of the Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (2017­18).


How to Calculate SHI?

  1. The calculation of the SHI score involves combining the normalized values of the four indicators using the techniques recommended by the GHI.
  2. The SHI scores range between 0 and 100, with higher scores indicating more hunger. Scores below 10 signify low hunger, 10­20 moderate, 20­30 serious, 30­40 alarming, and 50 or above extremely alarming.


The outcome of the calculation:

  1. In the SHI, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh scored 35, which places them in the ‘alarming’ category. Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Maharashtra, and West Bengal all scored above the national average (29).
  2. The performance of these States resembles that of African nations such as Haiti, Niger, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
  3. On the other hand, Chandigarh scored 12, and Sikkim, Puducherry, and Kerala all scored below 16. These States, along with Manipur, Mizoram, Punjab, Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Tamil Nadu, fall under the ‘moderate hunger’ category.
  4. No State falls under the ‘low hunger’ category. The impact of COVID­19 on the SHI is not captured here since post­pandemic estimates are not yet available.



  1. No National Sample Survey (NSS) round on nutritional intake has been conducted by the government since 2011-­12.
  2. In the 78th round of the NSS conducted in 2020-21, four key questions were included to gauge household food insecurity. Unfortunately, information on these is missing from the NSS report.


Critical analysis of GHI:

  1. While the GHI has faced significant criticism from experts regarding its conceptualization, indicator selection, and aggregation methods, it does provide critical insight into the state of undernourishment and child nutrition.


Why this issue is persisting in India?

  1. Multidimensional Poverty Index, challenges persist in addressing the disparity in food insecurity, hunger, and child malnutrition.


Status of the Right to Information Act

What is RTI?

  1. The RTI Act allows any citizen to make requests for access to data, documents, and other information in the government’s possession.


Current RTI Framework:

  1. Apart from allowing certain information to be kept secret for national security and sovereignty reasons, the RTI Act makes one exemption — it prohibits the personal data disclosure of citizens by the government unless there is an overriding public interest in doing so.



  1. In recent years, though, activists worry that the system is being made less and less effective, shutting off a crucial means to hold public officials accountable.


Digital Personal Data Protetcion and RTI:

  1. The Digital Personal Data Protection Act, of 2023, amended this qualified prohibition into a total prohibition.
  2. However, the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) argued that it would make ‘social audits’ in ration distribution impossible to carry out.


Past Amendments:

  1. The Right to Information (Amendment) Act, 2019 gave the Union Government unilateral power in deciding how long information commissioners, who hear appeals against unsatisfactory or absent RTI responses, can serve, and what their salaries are.


How RTI Act Undermined?

  1. The RTI Act’s implementation is dependent on subordinate rules made by the Union Government and State Governments.
  2. For instance, the simple matter of what payment method a public authority can accept is left to the States to decide. Some States like Tamil Nadu do not accept Indian Postal Orders (IPOs), which are cheques that can be bought at post offices and attached to an application as payment.
  3. Court fee stamps can only be purchased at a courthouse, and a demand draft for ₹10 may require a processing fee that is over twice that amount.
  4. Tardy appointments to information commissions — the Central Information Commission (CIC) for the Union Government, and various State Information Commissions (SICs) — have also undermined confidence in the RTI framework.
  5. Appeals can take months or even years to be heard, if ever. For example, the Jharkhand SIC has had no commissioners to hear appeals since May 2020, essentially suspending the ability to appeal ineffective administration of the RTI Act in the State.
  6. According to Venkatesh Nayak, Director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative NGO, people are increasingly dissatisfied with the information they are receiving from public officials.


Online RTIs:

  1. online largely removes some barriers — instead of obtaining uncommon financial instruments, citizens can simply file a request online and pay with UPI.
  2. However, many States do not have an online RTI portal, and even if they do, it is common for many State Government bodies to simply not be registered on the portal.
  3. The Union Government’s RTI portal launched RTI Online portal allowed citizens to have their personal particulars filled in on each application by default. Now, however, the facility to create an account has disappeared.
  4. RTI Online portal allowed citizens to have their personal particulars filled in on each application by default. Now, however, the facility to create an account has disappeared.
  5. In August, data on applications filed by users before 2022 disappeared without a trace.


What is the Debate Around ‘One Nation, One Election’?

Context:  Recently there has been a debate and discussion on simultaneous elections in the country and possibly Union government may bring bills in the upcoming special Parliamentary session in September 2023.


Key facts:

  1. On September 1, the Central government set up a panel headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind to explore the feasibility of the ‘one nation, one election’ (ONOE) plan.


What is the ONOE plan?

  1. The idea of ONOE centers around the concept of synchronizing the timing of Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections across all States to reduce the frequency of polls throughout the country.


History of Simultaneous Elections and its Failure:

  1. After the enforcement of the Constitution on January 26, 1950, the first­ever general elections to Lok Sabha and all State Assemblies were conducted simultaneously in 1951­1952.
  2. The practice continued into the three subsequent Lok Sabha elections until 1967, after which it was disrupted.
  3. The cycle was first broken in 1959 after the Centre invoked Article 356 (failure of constitutional machinery)of the Constitution to dismiss the then­Kerala government.
  4. Subsequently, due to defections and counter­defections between parties, several Legislative Assemblies dissolved post­1960, which eventually led to separate polls for Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.


Current Status of Simultaneous Election in India:

  1. Currently, the assembly polls in the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha are held together with the Lok Sabha elections.


Law Commission on Simultaneous Election:

  1. In August 2018, the Law Commission of India (LCI), was chaired by Justice B. S. Chauhan.
  2. Released a draft report on simultaneous elections, wherein the constitutional and legal questions related to the issue were analyzed.
  3. Notably, the Commission submitted that simultaneous elections are not feasible within the existing framework of the Constitution.
  4. It said that the Constitution, the Representation of the People’s Act 1951 and the Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha and State Assemblies would require appropriate amendments to conduct simultaneous polls.
  5. The commission also recommended it receive ratification from at least 50% of the States.


Main Advantages Stated by Law Commission:

  1. The commission said that ONOE will lead to the saving of public money, reducing the strain on the administrative setup and security forces, timely implementation of government policies, and administrative focus on development activities rather than electioneering.


Previous Recommendations:

  1. Way back in 1999, the LCI headed by Justice B. P. Jeevan Reddy also advocated for simultaneous elections.



  1. The foremost concern is with regard to its feasibility. Article 83(2) and 172 of the Constitution stipulates that the tenure of Lok Sabha and State Assemblies respectively will last for five years unless dissolved earlier and there can be circumstances, as in Article 356, wherein assemblies can be dissolved earlier.


First Serious Question:

  1. The ONOE plan raises serious questions,
  2. What would happen if the Central or State government collapses mid­tenure?
  3. Would elections be held again in every State or will the President’s rule be imposed?
  4. Amending the Constitution for such a significant change would not only necessitate extensive consideration of various situations and provisions but would also set a concerning precedent for more constitutional amendments.
  5. Second Question:
  6. The idea of ONOE does not square with the concept of ‘federalism’ as it is established on the notion that the entire nation is “one” contradicting the content of Article 1 which envisages India as a “Union of States”.
  7. Third Question:
  8. The present form of recurrent elections can be seen as beneficial in a democracy as it allows voters to have their voices heard more frequently.
  9. As the underlying issues of national and State polls are different, the present framework prevents the blending of issues, ensuring greater accountability.
  10. The Central government has also highlighted the substantial costs associated with frequent elections. However, this notion is misleading.
  11. the author contended whether the Election Commission’s expenditure of ₹8,000 crore over five years, amounting to ₹1,500 crore annually, or ₹27 per voter per year, can be considered a ‘massive’ expense for maintaining the pride of being the world’s largest electoral democracy.


Centre’s DIKSHA Education Platform to Offer AI Help

Context: The National e­Governance Division (NeGD) of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is set to integrate Personalised Adaptive Learning (PAL) into its existing Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA) platform.


What is DIKSHA?

  1. DIKSHA, a static content repository, that comes under the Education Ministry, provides e­content for schools by an online portal and a mobile application.
  2. It has embedded assistive technologies for learners with visual or hearing challenges.
  3. features digitized National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks.
  4. It hosts 2.43 lakh contributions by 11,624 academics by way of teaching videos, explainers, and practice questions.


What is Personalised Adaptive Learning (PAL)?

  1. It is a software­based approach that is expected to allow each student to have an individualized learning experience over the course of the curriculum based on their unique needs and abilities.


Aim of PAL:

  1. With nearly 35 lakh students dropping out of Class 10 and ineligible to qualify for Class 11 every year, the Education Ministry wants to adopt digital learning with a focus on improving learning outcomes and school retention.


Experiments in other States:

  1. Andhra Pradesh has signed contracts with three privately owned ed-tech companies — Reliance Jio Platform’s start­up Embibe, ConveGenius, and Mindspark — for training teachers to use IT applications in the classroom.
  2. In Assam, for instance, the PAL was adopted in 200 schools from Classes 6 to 10.


Issues with PAL:

  1. A huge cost burden needs to adapt as Assam discontinued it, citing a lack of funds.
  2. Haryana, after floating the tender, the State government said Embibe’s quote for streaming content was too high, and the process of adopting PAL came to a standstill.
  3. “The process of making PAL is time-consuming and it will still take three to four years to develop the tech and roll it out for use.



Fiscally Imprudent Policies and Populism Affect the Poor

Context: Recently PM Modi has cautioned against irresponsible financial policies and populism.


Issues with These policies:

  1. These measures may give political results in the short term, but will extract “a great social and economic price in the long term” with the most consequences for the “poorest and most vulnerable”.



  1. State governments to be conscious of financial discipline as well.


What are the populist policies?

  1. Various political promises such as free electricity, water supply, monthly unemployment allowance, and provision of laptops, and mobile phones for political gains in elections.
  2. Now increasing trends of bringing old pension schemes further increase the burden on states\’ fiscal policies.
In favour  Against the freebies
Public outreach and increased engagement It makes people dependent on the government
It can help in increased economic activities due to increased capacity Increase burden on government tresuresury
Reducing income inequality It will decrease or misallocate resources
Social welfare Freebies most of the time result in environmental degradation.


‘GDP-centric view changing to human-centric one

India’s Achievement at G-20 Presidency:

  1. The effort towards greater inclusion for the Global South, especially Africa in global affairs has gained momentum. India’s G­20 Presidency has also sowed the seeds of confidence in the countries of the so-called ‘Third World.


What is the biggest challenges faced by G-20?

  1. The Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas model needs to be integrated as a guiding principle for the welfare of the world. Irrespective of the size of the GDP, every voice matters.
  2. India has proposed making the African Union a permanent member of G­20.


Importance of Biofuel-alliance:

  1. Bio-fuel alliances are aimed at creating options for developing countries. Biofuels are also important from the perspective of a circular economy for energy-dependent countries like India.


The Northern Plains of India are the Most Polluted Region

Key Facts:

  1. Data from the Air Quality Life Index 2021 shows that failure to meet the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on reducing5 (particulate matter) pollution to 5 µg/m3 would cut global life expectancy by 2.3 years.
  2. AQLI data emphasizes that ambient particulate pollution poses the world’s greatest external risk to human health.


Findings Regarding South Asia:

  1. South Asia is at the center of the crisis. According to AQLI data, from 2013 to 2021, particulate pollution in South Asia surged by 9.7%, which is estimated to reduce life expectancy in the region by an additional six months.
  2. Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan, where 22.9% of the global population lives, are the most polluted countries in the world.
  3. India is the second-largest polluted country in the world in 2021, particulate pollution is the greatest threat to human health.
  4. Data reveal a further rise in PM2.5 pollution from 56.2 µg/m3 in 2020 to 58.7 µg/m3 in 2021, exceeding the WHO guidelines by more than 10 times.
  5. The average Indian resident is set to lose 5.3 years of life expectancy if WHO guidelines remain unmet.
Chinese Success Example: China stands out due to its success in reducing pollution by a staggering 42.3% from 2013 to 2021 and extending the average life expectancy of its population by 2.2 years.


State-wise Findings:

  1. shows the most polluted States in India and the potential life expectancy loss if pollution levels do not meet WHO guidelines.
  2. In Delhi, the world’s most polluted city, 18 million people could lose 11.9 years of life expectancy relative to the WHO guideline and 8.5 years of life expectancy relative to the national guideline if current pollution levels persist.
  3. The northern plains are home to over half a billion people and 38.9% of India’s population.
  4. In the northern plains, the average resident is set to lose about 8 years of life expectancy.



Facts for Prelims

A.P. students stare at the prospect of losing the ‘local quota’ in educational institutions

Article 371 D was promulgated to safeguard the rights of local students in education

  1. The main issue is that after May 2024 students are in fear of the quota in local education.


Reason for fear:

  1. Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, which came into force in May 2014, is valid only for 10 years. It means rules and regulations formulated prior to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh will not hold good after May 2024.


Constitutional Provisions:

  1. Article 371 D, which had been incorporated as the 32nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1973.
  2. Earlier, Telangana was known as the Osmania University region, and the districts from Srikakulam to Prakasam as the Andhra University region. The Rayalaseema and Nellore districts were tagged under the Sri Venkateswara University region, with 85% of seats in the educational institutions reserved for the local students, all under the provisions of Article 371 D.
  3. “With no such constitutional protective cover in the future, the local students of all the regions stand to lose.


About A-371-D:

  1. The President must ensure “equitable opportunities and Facilities” in public employment and education to the people from different parts of the state.
  2. The president may require the state government to organize any class or classes of posts in a civil or any class or classes of civil posts under the state into various local cadres in various other parts of the state.
  3. Presidents have similar power, Vis-a-vis admissions in educational institutes.
  4. Article 371 D, which was added to the Constitution after the 1969 struggle in the State, was reiterated in the A.P. Reorganisation Act, of 2014.



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