Current Affairs Ranks & Reports

  According to World Gold Council(WGC) report title “World Gold Outlook 2020”, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been ranked 6th in the largest buyer of sovereign gold abroad. RBI purchased 25.2 tonnes in first 10 months of 2019 to hedge government’s sovereign gold bond issue. RBI (Reserve Bank of India) currently holds 625.2 tonnes of gold, forming 6.6% of its forex reserves. The central banks of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Poland bought more than India in 2019. In 2019, Uzbekistan and Venezuela sold 16.6 tonnes and 30.3 tonnes of gold. The performance of gold in the market in 2019 was best Since 2010. It rises by 18.4% in United States dollar (USD)terms in 2019.
Key points of World Gold Council(WGC) report:
  • i. The data about the gold holdings of various central banks were collected after those central banks shared their data with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • ii. The central banks added 27.9 tonnes of gold on a net basis which when considering year-to-date basis brings net purchase to 570.2 tonnes, 11% higher than in 2018 (515.2tonnes).
  • iii. The report highlights the need for tax cuts to increase economic growth. This was due to the fact that higher taxes exacerbated the impact of record-high local consumption on the gold price.
  • iv. The Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) of institutional investors were the second-largest buyers of gold in 2019. The report predicts that they will continue to buy more gold in 2020 as well.

  The United Nations has released its annual flagship report “World Economic Situation and Prospects Report 2020″. The report depicts the state of the world economy through the lens of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report is a result of the joint efforts of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the five United Nations regional commissions: Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA). The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN–OHRLLS), and the International Labour Organization (ILO) also gave their contribution to the report.
Key findings of the WESP Report 2020:
  • Report states that the global growth dipped to a 10?year low of 2.3% in 2019 while it also projected the global growth rate at 2.5% in 2020 and 2.7% in 2021.
  • Globally, the issue of per capita income stagnation or decline will be faced by 1 in every 5 countries in year 2020.
  • For commodity?dependent developing countries, the average growth of GDP per capita has fallen from 2.9% per annum in the period 2010?2014 to only 0.5% in 2015–2019.
  • The report has forecasted the expansion of aggregate GDP in least developed countries to 5.1% in 2020 and 5.4% in 2021.
  • 85% of all monetary policy changes in 2019 headed towards easing rather than tightening and hence marked the broadest shift in global monetary policy since the global financial crisis.
  • Between the period of 2010 and 2019, the part of government revenue spent on interest payments has increased in over 70% of the developing countries.
  • Also, according to the WESP Report 2020, East Asia remains the world fastest growing region.

 On January 14, 2020, the Non-Profit Organization Pratham released its annual report, Annual Status of Education Report, 2019. The report is based on the survey conducted in 26 districts that covers 36,000 children in the age group of 4 to 8 years.
Key Findings of the report
  • Number of girls enrolled in government schools is higher than number of boys. On the other hand, number of boys enrolled in private institutions is higher than that of girls
  • The report says that around 56.8% of girls and 50.4% of boys are enrolled in government schools.
  • In the age group of 6-8 years, 61.1% of girls and 52.1% of boys were enrolled in government institutions.
  • According to RTE act, 2009 (Right to Education act), children should enter Class I at the age of 6. But according to the report, 4 out of every 10 children entering Class I are less than 5 years old.
Suggestions of the report
  • The existing network of Anganwadi Centres should be strengthened and expanded.
  • Early language, numeracy, social and emotional learning tasks are closely related to age of the children. Therefore, it is mandatory to put children into primary grades at the right age.

  The Union Government has released the “State Energy Efficiency Index 2019”. The index was released during the ‘Review, Planning and Monitoring (RPM)’ meeting held in New Delhi. The index is developed by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) along with Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE). The SEE Index 2019 traces the expansion and achievements of Energy Efficiency (EE) drives running in 36 states and union territories. The SEE Index 2019 constitutes quantitative, qualitative and outcome based 97 indicators to check energy efficiency initiatives, programs and outcomes in five distinct areas: transport, industry, agriculture, buildings, municipalities, and DISCOMs. State Energy Efficiency Index 2019 has divided States/UTs into 4 groups on the basis of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) desired to meet the State’s/UT’s actual energy demand through electricity, coal, oil, gas, etc. across all the sectors. The 4 groups are: ‘Front Runner’, ‘Achiever’, ‘Contender’ and ‘Aspirant’.
Key results of SEE Index 2019: The State Energy Efficiency Index 2019 was topped by Haryana, Karnataka and Kerala while Manipur, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and Rajasthan performed worst in their respective groups. The states of Haryana, Karnataka and Kerala were in “Achiever” group and there was not a single state in the “Front Runner” group.

 On January 9, 2020, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy released its year end review. According to the report, over 150 GW of renewable energy has been installed so far in India.
India’s initiatives in 2019
  • Under KUSUM initiative, around 17 lakh solar powered agricultural pumps were installed.
  • Phase II of Grid Connected Roof top Solar Programme was launched. Under the programme, 40,000 MW of Roof Top solar power target was set.
  • Under the Wind-Solar hybrid policy, 1440 MW of capacity was installed.
  • Second Assembly of International Solar Alliance was held.
  • The scheme to set up solar PV power plants in compliance with the WTO was approved. This was launched to encourage Make in India solar PV manufacturing sector
The Government in 2015 had set a target to install 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. It includes 60 GW from wind, 100 GW from solar, 5 GW from small hydro power and 10 GW from solar. In order to achieve this, GoI had set up the Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Power Parks (UMREPP) under Solar Park Scheme.
  • India’s NDC
According to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), India pledged that 40% of installed power will be from non-fossil fuel by 2030. Also, India had set a target to reduce emission intensity of GDP by 33 to 35% as compared to 2005 level.

 India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been listed as the 5th biggest Geo-political Risk of 2020. The listing was done by Eurasia Group in its report. The report states ‘Top 10 Risks’ of the year 2020.
The Top 10 Risks of 2020 are as followed:
  • 3. US/CHINA
  • 10. TURKEY

 On January 9, 2020, the World Bank released its Global Economic Prospect. According to its forecast, the world is expected to grow economically at the rate of 2.5%. This is the lowest prediction since that predicted in 2008-09, 3.1%. By then, the global financial crisis derailed the economy.
  • Highlights
The report says that investment and trade in the country is expected to recover. However, the downward risks from 2019 are to continue. It also said that the advanced economies are to slip their growth by 1.4% as the manufacturing sector continues to soften. The emerging markets in the developing economies are to witness acceleration in their growth according to the report. However, this is not applicable to all. A third of developing countries are expected to decelerate this year. Predominantly the growing economies are located in South and South East Asia.
  • South Asia
Growth in South Asia is expected to rise by 5.5% in 2020. The report predicts India’s growth rate at 5%. It is expected that the credit from non-banking companies to expected to weaken. The report also says that India will see a growth rate of 5.5% in the subsequent year. The United States is expected to grow at 1.8% and European Union is projected to slip its growth by 1% in 2020.

 Indian paddler Manav Thakkar became world no.1 in the latest International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rankings in the Under-21 men’s singles category. With this, Thakkar became the fourth Indian to achieve the feat after Harmeet Desai, G Sathiyan and Soumyajit Ghosh. Manav Thakkar achieved the top spot after clinching the Under-21 men’s singles title at the ITTF Challenge Plus Benemax-Virgo North American Open in Markham, Canada. He was also worlded no. 1 in the Under-18 category in February 2018. He was part of the Indian men’s team which won a bronze medal in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
Source: The News on AIR

  The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has announced the results of the 1st and 2nd quarters of the Swachh Survekshan 2020. Indore has topped the cleanliness charts for two consecutive quarters among cities with over 10 lakh population while Kolkata was the worst performer. Jamshedpur has topped the cleanliness charts for two consecutive quarters among cities with 1 lakh to 10 lakh population. The rankings were conducted in a league format for the first time and were split into three quarters (April to June, July to September and October to December 2019) and different categories based on the population of the city. The rankings were based on collection, transportation, processing and disposal of waste.
Some key results of the Swachh Survekshan 2020:
Top three cities with over 10 lakh population in 1st quarter (April to June):
  • Indore (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Surat (Gujarat)
  • Top three cities with over 10 lakh population in 2nd quarter (July to September):
  • Indore (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Rajkot (Gujarat)
  • Navi Mumbai (Maharashtra)
  • Top three cities with 1 lakh to 10 lakh population in 1st quarter (April to June):
  • Jamshedpur (Jharkhand)
  • New Delhi
  • Top three cities with 1 lakh to 10 lakh population in 2nd quarter (July to September):
  • Jamshedpur (Jharkhand)
  • Chandrapur (Maharashtra)
  • Among the Cantonment Boards, the rankings in 1st quarter (April to June) were as follows:
  • St.Thomas Mount Cantonment (Tamil Nadu)
  • Jhansi Cantonment (Uttar Pradesh)
  • Delhi Cantonment (Delhi)
  • Among the Cantonment Boards, the rankings in 2nd quarter (July to September) were as follows:
  • Delhi Cantonment Board (Delhi)
  • Jhansi Cantonment Board (Uttar Pradesh)
  • Jalandhar Cantonment Board (Punjab)
  • Secunderabad Cantonment Board in Hyderabad is the worst performer among other cantonment boards.
    Source: The Hindu

      NITI Aayog, the policy think tank of Government will launch the second edition of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index and Dashboard 2019–20 on 30 December 2019 at NITI Aayog, New Delhi. The first edition of SDG India Index was launched in December 2018. It was the first tool developed by any large country to monitor progress towards achieving SDGs at sub-national level. NITI Aayog has the mandate of overseeing adoption as well as monitoring of SDGs in India, at the national and sub-national level.
    About SDG India Index and Dashboard 2019–20 The SDG India Index and Dashboard 2019 documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories (UTs) towards implementing the 2030 SDG targets. Besides indicating where the States and UTs currently are on SDG implementation, the Index and Dashboard also charts distance to be travelled to reach SDG targets. It has been developed by Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) in collaboration with United Nations in India, and Global Green Growth Institute. Index and Dashboard 2019 covers 16 out of 17 SDGs and a qualitative assessment on Goal 17. This marks an improvement over 2018 Index, which covered only 13 goals. On the basis of progress made, the Index ranks all States and UTs on 100 indicators drawn from MoSPI’s National Indicator Framework, comprising of 306 indicators.

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