Sex ratio improves in country; birth and death rates dip Total fertility rate in 12 States has fallen below two children per woman India has registered an improved sex ratio and a decline in birth and death rates with non-communicable diseases dominating over communicable in the total disease burden of the country, according to the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence’s (CBHI) National Health Profile (NHP) 2019. The NHP covers demographic, socio-economic, health status and health finance indicators, human resources in the health sector and health infrastructure. It is also an important source of information on various communicable and non-communicable diseases that are not covered under any other major programmes.
“This information is essential for health system policy development, governance, health research, human resource development, health education and training,” Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said.
As per the NHP, sex ratio (number of females per 1,000 males) in the country has improved from 933 in 2001 to 943 in 2011.
In rural areas the sex ratio has increased from 946 to 949.
“The corresponding increase in urban areas has been of 29 points from 900 to 929. Kerala has recorded the highest sex ratio in respect of total population (1,084), rural population (1,078) and urban (1,091). The lowest sex ratio in rural areas has been recorded in Chandigarh (690),” the report said.
The report also showed that the estimated birth rate, death rate and natural growth rate are declining.
The estimated birth rate reduced from 25.8 in 2000 to 20.4 in 2016 while the death rate declined from 8.5 to 6.4 per 1,000 population over the same period. The natural growth rate declined from 17.3 in 2000 to 14 in 2016 as per the latest available information.
As per the report, the total fertility rate (average number of children that will be born to a woman during her lifetime) in 12 States has fallen below two children per woman and nine States have reached replacement levels of 2.1 and above. Delhi, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have the lowest fertility rate among other States.
It was also observed that non-communicable diseases dominated over the communicable in the total disease burden of the country.
The NHP also complied a detailed data on health manpower availability in public sector.
“The total number of registered allopathic doctors (up to 2018) is 11,54,686. Number of dental surgeons registered with Central/State Dental Councils of India was 2,54,283.
There is an increasing trend in the number of dental surgeons registered with the Central/State Dental Council of India from 2007 to 2018. The total number of registered AYUSH Doctors in India as on January 1, 2018 was 7,99,879,” the report noted.
Herculean task to find new host for UN meet
COP unlikely to take place this year
- With Chile withdrawing its offer to host the 25th edition of United Nations Conference of Parties (COP), it’s unlikely that there will be a meeting this year, according to experts that The Hindu has conversed with. The COP is the pre-eminent climate meet, where world leaders decide on actions that must be taken to address global warming. Since it was first held in 1995 it has never once been cancelled.
- The COP 25 was to be held in Santiago, Chile from the 2nd-13th December until Chilean President Sebastián Piñera announced on Wednesday morning, local time, that Chile would not be hosting the talks.
- The decision followed student protests in Santiago since October 18, over a hike in rail metro fares and wealth inequality. This year’s COP was originally to be hosted by Brazil but they themselves backed out before Chile stepped in.
- UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa released a statement on Wednesday stating, “I was informed of the decision by the government of Chile not to host COP25 in view of the difficult situation that the country is undergoing. We are currently exploring alternative hosting options.” The UN Secretariat didn’t offer fresh comment on Thursday, when The Hindu requested an update.
- A top official in the Union Environment Ministry, who represents India in UN-climate negotiations, told The Hindu that it would be “near impossible — given the logistics involved” to find a new host country.
- A typical COP has participants in the tens of thousands and includes ministers, bureaucrats, activists and journalists from nearly 200 countries.
- Ease of accommodation and smooth transport to the venue and places of residence are critical factors in a country’s ability to organise the COP.
- In 2017, the COP was held in Bonn even though the presidency of the quorum was held by Fiji.
- Even by its volatile standards, our Southwest Asian sub-region has lately been unusually turbulent, as reflected in issues ranging from India-Pakistan tensions to the approaching denouements of crises in Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan.
- The oil market, too, has been inclement. Against this disorderly context, it is no small wonder that India-Saudi Arabia relations have not only remained steady, but kept their positive trajectory. Indeed, following their third summit in as many years earlier this week, the respective leaderships should be complimented for their sagacity in focussing on leveraging their intrinsic bilateral synergy instead of chasing the various wild geese. It demonstrates their maturity and strategic construct.
- This is not to claim perfect bilateral harmony: the joint statement was significant not only for covering areas of agreement of the two parties, but circumscribing their well-known differences. Nevertheless, both sides believe that what joins them bilaterally is far more significant. They also realise that this entente cordiale does not only help them attain their bilateral potential, it also widens their respective geostrategic options.
Acknowledging core interests
- Politically, New Delhi and Riyadh acknowledged each other’s core interests and accommodated them. Thus, Saudi Arabia showed an “understanding” of recent Indian actions in Jammu and Kashmir and India “strongly condemned” the various attacks on Saudi civilian facilities. Their bilateral defence, security and antiterror cooperation has intensified and the first naval exercise is to be held soon.
- The Riyadh Summit acquired added importance as it coincidentally preceded two domestic developments in India with considerable traction in the Islamic world: the conversion of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories that happened on Thursday and the Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya dispute.
- Despite vigorous efforts, the bilateral commercial and economic ties have still remained range-bound. Trade has drifted downwards largely due to lower crude prices. According to the latest Indian data, the bilateral trade in the first nine months of 2019 stood at $22,416 million, having fallen by 9.2% over the corresponding figure in 2018. It was 5:1 in kingdom’s favour and was dominated by the traditional commodities, revealing the need for greater Indian export promotion efforts.
- The Saudi investment in India, too, remains far below potential. The kingdom’s cumulative investments in India are only $229 million, or 0.05% of the total inbound FDI. Though the kingdom’s Indian community has come down marginally to 2.6 million, they, nevertheless, are still the largest foreign community and their annual homeward remittances remain steady at $11 billion.
- There is growing room for optimism, however. The kingdom’s Vision 2030, a strategic document, lists eight major partner countries including India, the world’s third largest oil importer. Saudi Aramco is to be one of the two strategic partners in the proposed $44 billion, 1.2 mbpd PSU refinery at Raigarh on India’s west coast. It is also to acquire a fifth of the Reliance refinery at Jamnagar and to participate in India’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves. If realised, these investments could total nearly $30 billion, catapulting the kingdom to fourth position among countries investing in India.
- Earlier, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had committed to investing $100 billion in India. As the 12 bilateral documents signed in Riyadh Summit show, India and Saudi Arabia have already commenced leveraging opportunities across a vast eco-space, from energy to agriculture and from fintech to skilling.
- In his keenly awaited speech at the Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi listed five “trends” in India with global investors’ remit: technology and innovation, infrastructure development, human resource development, environment and business-friendly governance. His persuasive narrative is likely to win converts, particularly in the Saudi private sector.
New bilateral council
- Setting up of a bilateral Strategic Partnership Council (SPC) to be co-chaired by the Indian Prime Minister and the Saudi Crown Prince is a defining development. Given the centralised nature of executive at both ends, it would, hopefully, expedite the decision-making process. The SPC would be a permanent bilateral platform with two verticals jointly serviced by the two Foreign and Trade and Industry Ministries.
- Among the potential areas for next stage of bilateral cooperation could be greater bilateral synergy in Indian infrastructure, agriculture, start-ups, skilling and IT.
- Shifting some labour-intensive establishments from Saudi Arabia to India would serve the respective national priorities by reducing the kingdom’s expatriate population and boosting ‘Make in India’.
- The World Bank’s recently published “Ease of Doing Business” rankings included both India and Saudi Arabia in its ten “most improved economies”. Indian ecstasy at a 14-place jump to the 63rd rank this year would have to be tempered by the knowledge that Saudi Arabia was at the top of the “most improved” economies having leapfrogged 34 places to stand at 62nd rank, one ahead of India. When the sub-region’s two largest, top-performing and complementary economies join hands, shouldn’t the sum be greater than the total of the parts? After the Riyadh Summit, hopes have risen for an emphatic affirmative answer.
- Relief for Pehlu’s sons The finding that they weren’t smuggling cows exposes the perversity of blaming the victims
- The Rajasthan High Court’s order quashing the cow smuggling case against the sons of Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer lynched by cow vigilantes in 2017, grants much-needed relief to the family. The Khans are yet to get any semblance of justice for Pehlu Khan’s murder, as all those sent up for trial were acquitted in August. Of particular significance is Justice Pankaj Bhandari’s finding that Khan and his sons, Irshad and Arif, besides truck driver Khan Mohammed, were not transporting cattle for slaughter; rather, the cows and calves in their possession were meant for dairy farming. Although High Courts do not normally intervene after the filing of the charge sheet, they have the power to do so if there is manifest abuse of the process. In this case, the police appear to have tried to show that milch cows and calves were animals meant for slaughter. It is quite apparent that they were trying perversely to build a narrative that it was the victims who were primarily at fault. Pehlu Khan and his sons had bought the animals at a cattle fair in Jaipur and were taking them to Nuh in Haryana, when they were attacked by a mob on April 1, 2017. Khan succumbed to his injuries in hospital two days later. Though it was under the erstwhile BJP government that a case was registered against Pehlu Khan and others under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, the charge sheet was filed by the police only in May this year, after a change of regime.
- The development caused some embarrassment to the Congress regime of Ashok Gehlot, but the government subsequently made up for it by enacting an anti-lynching law. Further, soon after the six suspects in the murder case were acquitted, the government set up a committee to probe the lapses in the investigation. It also filed an appeal in the High Court against their acquittal. The invalidation of the cow smuggling case is a face-saver for the present regime too. The Pehlu Khan murder case attained emblematic significance not only because it was one of the earliest instances of the wave of vigilante attacks across the country in the name of cow protection; it was also because it contained all the ingredients of a hate crime: unplanned violence, ideological motivation, intolerance towards sections of society and interference with dietary choice. The manner in which the murder case was allowed to collapse in court, possibly due to planned lapses, shows how the system was rigged to favour the mob. What is now left for the State government is to make a sincere effort to salvage the murder case. If there is sufficient evidence that the real perpetrators were dropped from the case deliberately, it should try to get a fresh trial ordered against those responsible and secure appropriate punishment for them.
- The Limits to Growth (LTG) is a 1972 report on the computer simulation of exponential economic and population growth with a finite supply of resources.
- Funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and commissioned by the Club of Rome, the findings of the study were first presented at international gatherings in Moscow and Rio de Janeiro in the summer of 1971.
- The report's authors are Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and William W. Behrens III, representing a team of 17 researchers