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Current Public Administration Magazine (MARCH 2018) The Non Politics of Outrage

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Information Technology

::The Non Politics of Outrage::

We need a white paper on the extensive data markets that currently exist in India We are witnessing mass outrage over certain actions or non-actions of Facebook (FB) and a British political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica (CA), regarding the use of personal data for political messaging during the U.S. presidential elections. But digging into the issue, it is difficult to see what is really novel in the current disclosures that was previously not known. It is also unclear why the facts that these disclosures centre on are more important than many other well-known facts about the underlying issue of data, digital controls and exploitation. It is not evident what the real concerns underlying the outrage are. And lastly, there is the important question of what it really means for countries such as India.

CA’s role in the U.S. elections has been known for quite some time. So now after a whistle-blower’s account and an undercover investigation, if those responsible for data and digital policies behave as if any of this is news to them, it is either disingenuous or unacceptably naive and incompetent.

As FB has clarified, the only illegal element here is that a research company transferred data to CA against FB policies. But both the company concerned and FB itself could have legitimately used the same user data for the same purpose of psychometrics-based micro-targeted political messaging for any of their paying clients. What exactly do we then have a problem with? Just with violation of FB’s policies, or with psychometrics-based political messaging and the collective national damage that it causes? Is it, for instance, alright if FB itself did similar things for its paying clients, which it has provisions for?

Digital controls

Meddling in elections is a most serious issue, but there are other equally important data-centric threats — from complete data-based control over all activities and actors in a sector by platform companies (think Uber, but the process will soon reach as afar as agriculture and manufacturing) to that of actual informational warfare, by name, which can wreck countries. Interestingly, CA’s parent company also offers data-intelligence services to militaries, and indeed countries such as the U.S. have extensive informational warfare projects based on social media and other micro-informational sources for various countries. Global digital companies such as Microsoft and Google are known to cooperate closely with the American establishment, and, when insisted upon, prioritise the latter’s interests even over their own economic ones.

Developing countries like India must realise that they do not have the kind of leverage that the U.S. or even the European Union (EU) have over global data giants, and will never have it, whatever be their boasts. A specific privacy shield arrangement with the U.S., for instance, ensures special protection just to EU data in the U.S. All data collected in India and transported abroad (data laws being nearly non-existent), on the other hand, remain largely out of our control or influence.

As this data gets converted into digitally-intelligent services in all sectors — from transport, commerce and tourism, to education and health, to agriculture and manufacturing, we are getting structurally sucked into foreign-controlled digital value chains from which any attempts to escape may soon become too difficult and costly. At that stage, whether they influence and control our elections, or economics, or culture, or internal and external security, manoeuvring space for resistance will be limited. All these data-based controls need to be seen as of one kind, and common strategies urgently devised for India to remain free — free not just in the much-vaunted “consumer choice” sense, which is mostly the Trojan Horse, but also free collectively, as a nation and a community.

It may sound rhetorical but such is the vastness and depth of new global digital controls that digital freedom from them is becoming close to being as important as freedom from physical and legal controls was in the middle of the 20th century.

Political response needed

First of all, we need to recognise the ignored collective aspects of data, and the potential of collective damage or gains from it, which the CA issue most clearly demonstrates — and focus on the related concepts of collective (not just personal) data protection and collective data rights and ownership. The current exercise by the Srikrishna Committee on data protection seems centred entirely on personal data rights, which is insufficient.

Considering it of strategic value, India is currently devising regulation for digital geospatial data, putting many public interest checks on its various uses, including it being taken abroad. The problem is, even from a security point of view, geodata is perhaps no longer the most strategic. Social data of various kinds and sectors may be of greater strategic value. Advanced militaries like in the U.S., Russia and China know this and are investing in large-scale informational warfare and insurgency projects. Evidently, all or much of Indian social data, in various sectors, including even granular data of consumer behaviour (which provides much detailed psychometric information with cross-sectoral application) need some protections, although of varying kinds taking into account legitimate economic and global integration issues.

As with geospatial information, all critical data and digital intelligence about various sectors must be designated as collective national assets, and the collective rights to them instituted. This does not mean that all such data will necessarily be prevented from being taken abroad, or being used by foreign companies. It basically means an enabling cover of jurisprudence and political economy being thrown over such data, which ensures assertion of collective rights to it, and, where needed, the corresponding laws and regulation.

Platform companies such as FB, Amazon and Uber are key sites of data collection and expropriation, and its conversion into digital intelligence (to influence elections, or whatever else they wish to do). They form the intelligence infrastructures of the sectors concerned, acting like their “brains”. Such platform companies, when exceeding certain data sizes, need to be closely regulated like utility companies.

Within such a cross-cutting framework of data laws, regulation and policies, specific sectors need their own regulation. In the case of election manipulation, for instance, rather than just giving notice to CA to explain matters, it will be much more appropriate to route the current outrage to undertaking a thorough assessment of the role of digital data in elections over the last few years in India, and presenting it to the nation.

Forget CA and FB, an extensive data market with data brokers exists in India as everywhere else, and almost all important data of Indians can be bought in this market. Even in the case of CA and the U.S. elections, apparently only a seventh of the budget that CA spent on acquiring personal data was used for FB data that is currently under micro-examination. Where was the remaining 85% of the money spent? CA’s chief executive officer has claimed that it had “profiled the personality of every adult in the United States of America — 220 million people” which is considerably more that the 50 million profiles being reported as harvested from FB in the current controversy.

Compulsory reporting

Is the Indian government willing to come up with a white paper on such extensive data markets that also exist in India? The U.S. is considering legislation for compulsory reporting of all social media-related spendings by political agencies, which is also a good area for India to explore.

A data-based digital society and economy are a completely new reality. The question is, are we as a nation ready to develop the needed political response to it? The biggest roadblock in this necessary direction is the same upper middle-class that is currently outraged on the CA issue, but resists due regulation of the digital sector because it threatens its hyper consumptive culture and runs counter to its anti-political biases. It still wants to savour for some more time the utopian dream that the Internet finally delivers them of governments.

(Source- Written by Parminder Jeet Singh published in The Hindu)

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Integrated guided missile system : Civil Services Mentor Magazine: MARCH - 2018

::Integrated guided missile system::

The Integrated G uided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) was an Indian Ministry of Defence programme for the research and development of the comprehensive range of missiles. The project started in 1982–83 with popular political support from the successive governments and bestowed under the leadership of Abdul Kalam who oversaw its ending in 2008 after these strategic missiles were successfully developed. On 8 January 2008, the DRDO formally announced the successful completion of the IGMDP.

Missiles developed under the programme are given below:

1. Prithvi
2. Agni
3. Trishul
4. Akash
5. Nag

The Prithvi missile is a family of tactical surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) and is India's first indigenously developed ballistic missile. Development of the Prithvi began in 1983, it has a range of up to 150 to 300 km. The land variant is called Prithvi while the naval operational variant are named Dhanush. Both variants are used for surface targets. Prithvi Missile is a Surface-to-Surface Battle field Missile. It uses a single state, twin-engine liquid propulsion system and strap-down inertial guidance with real-time software incorporated in the onboard computer to achieve the desired accuracy during impact. Prithvi has higher lethal effect compared
to any equivalent class of missiles in the world. Prithvi is a unique missile today having manoeuverable trajectory and high level capability with field interchangeable warheads. Its accuracy has been demonstrated in the dev elopment flight trials. Flight trails for Air force has been completed. This system is now being configured for launching from ship, increasing its capability as a sea mobile system.

Trishul is the name of a short range surface-to-air missile, it has a range of 12 km and is fitted with a 5.5 kg warhead. Designed to be used against low-level (sea skimming) targets at short range, the system has been developed to defend naval vessels against missiles and also as a short-range surface-to-air missile on land. Trishul is a Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile. It can also be used as an anti-sea skimmer from a ship against low flying attacking missiles. It employs dual thrust propulsion stage using high-energy solid propellant in a maraging steel flow chamber, and is operated on command guidance initially with ka-band gathering and then transferred to the tracking radar. It has necessary electronic counter measures against all known aircraft jammers.

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Current Public Administration Magazine (MARCH 2018) A Law without Parliament

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Law and Order Administration

::A Law without Parliament::

Euthanasia (the passive killing of a suffering person) is prohibited in the US, England and France. Bills which were introduced in their legislatures were defeated. In the US, courts upheld the ban on medical-aided killing. In 1972, a bill was introduced in Parliament to amend the Indian Penal Code by deleting Section 309 (attempt to suicide) but it lapsed and no one has dared since then to introduce another. Also, no one has contemplated to implement the 42nd Report of the Law Commission, which suggested that attempt to suicide not be treated as a crime under Section 309.

A five-member Constitution Bench in the Gian Kaur case (1996) held that the right to life did not include the right to die. Thus, it overruled the two-judge decision in the Ratinam case, that an attempt to suicide would be treated as a crime under the penal code. The judges presided over by Justice Verma, after perusing the UK’s Airedale case, had held that “the desirability of bringing about such a change was considered to be the function of the legislature by enacting a suitable law providing therein adequate safeguards to prevent any possible abuse”. The bench unanimously held that even physician-assisted suicide had no rational basis to claim exclusion from the fundamental principles of sanction of life. It quoted, with approval, the English courts’ rationale that euthanasia was not lawful under common law and Parliament was the supreme authority to deal with it.

However, earlier this month, another five-judge bench has ruled for passive killing in cases of terminally ill patients. Why should suffering be “carried forward” when there is no cure? A person should, in advance, make a testamentary declaration, which is to be endorsed by a judicial magistrate (who are otherwise heavily loaded in their judicial work), wherein the person will unambiguously state that in case she/he becomes incurably ill, she/he would not like to be in a “vegetative state” and should be allowed to die with dignity.
This five-judge bench followed the two-judge bench’s direction in Aruna Shanbaug case, delivered by Justice Markandey Katju, which promoted the concept of euthanasia by carving out a novel path for medically-aided killing. This was fervently opposed by the then Attorney General of India, who argued for the government that euthanasia had not been accepted by Indians.

The SC was bound to follow judicial precedent from the Gian Kaur case — delivered by Justice Verma for five judges —which categorically held that Article 21 does not include the right to die. Unnatural termination of life is incompatible and incongruous with the concept of right to life. Thus, Article 21 guarantees protection of life “which cannot be construed so as to read therein right to die”. The right to life under Article 21 has to be construed as life with human dignity. This aspect — what makes life dignified — has to be read into and explored, but not to the degree of including that which extinguishes life, effacing the right itself.

Interestingly, the smaller bench in the Shanbaug case, taking note of the low ethical standards, raw and widespread commercialisation and the rampant corruption in the country, said courts needed to be cautious while deciding such matters. The SC judges have expressed, many times, that they are not experts in various fields, including medicine and healthcare. The guidelines in the current verdict pertain to how doctors will be assessed. But there is no mechanism to certify the reputation of the doctor nor has Union health ministry made any regulations regarding such a practice.

The Supreme Court took over the functions of Parliament and has made this a judicial legislation, which will prevail till Parliament legislates. Laws have to be made by Parliament and the courts strictly have to interpret the law, and not legislate. Should the apex court have sailed into uncharted waters and ruled where there is no Parliament-made legislation?

(Source- Written by D N Goburdhun published in The Indian Express)

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(Sample Article) 63. A Safe City Approach to Urban Sustainability: Developing a Framework for Community Resilience

(Sample Article) 63. A Safe City Approach to Urban Sustainability: Developing a Framework for Community Resilience



THE HISTORY of mankind traces the intrinsic relationship of human endurance and natural phenomenon. Favourable natural conditions facilitated growth of great civilisations while extreme natural events or disasters often resulted in their destruction. The fall of Indus Valley and Minoan civilisations are attributed to natural disasters. Even today, disasters cause extensive devastation all over the world, causing death, injuries, destruction of assets and devastation of economies and livelihoods. Even today, disasters cause huge devastation; on an average the global cost of disasters exceeded about US$ 100 million per year over the last decade (United Nations System Task Team, 2012). The Nepal Earthquake of 25 April 2015 which killed an estimated 8000 people has caused losses that .will take decades for the nation to recover from Just as disasters form an intrinsic part of human society, urbanisation has been its hallmark over the ages. Urban settlements evolved out of people’s needs for protection and security; or as centres of trade, storage of surplus produce, defence, religion or entertainment on the basis of a diversified economic base. The term “city” therefore implies a “concentration of people in a given geographic area who support themselves on a fairly permanent basis from the economic activities of the area” (Gallion & Eisner, 1986). Through history, cities of the Indus Valley, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Aegean and mainland Greece emerged as centres of power, culture, aesthetics, trade, communication, and learning. Rapid urbanisation has been the hallmark of demographic growth in the 20 Century. The world urban population has increased rapidly from 228 million to 2.8 billion during the 20 th Century and is expected to go up to five billion by 2030 (United Nations Population Fund, 2007). In 2008, the urban population equaled the rural and is expected to grow rapidly in future, led primarily by Africa and Asia.

Urbanisation and Urban Risks are Inexorably Linked

  • The inevitable trend of urbanisation has both positive and negative connotations. As centres of economic activities, governance and trade, cities push economic growth of the region. Along with the development, cities also concentrate on issues of poverty, inequality, environmental damage and social disruption. However, the solutions to these issues also emerge from cities themselves, the advantages thus utweighing the disadvantages (United Nations Population Fund, 2007). The effort should be aimed towards promoting urban sustainability from its very outset. The urban landscape is highly vulnerable to disasters of various nature and intensities. Cities located in hazard-prone areas become more vulnerable due to overlapping of physical and socio-economic factors like unsafe housing, uncontrolled use of land, high population densities, lack of access of resources and unsafe livelihoods. Most major cities of the world are located in coastal regions or near river deltas, thus increasing their risk of hydro-meteorological disasters. Rapidly expanding cities are continuously creating new risks and challenges for disaster risk reduction. Increasing urbanisation, especially in Asia and Africa translate into habitation in unsafe areas like river flood plains, unstable slopes and coastlines, thus ensuring greater exposure to hazards. Most often, it is the poor and first-generation migrants who reside in these unstable sites, their risk compounded by their poverty, informal livelihoods, lack of access to services and financial backup.
  • The vulnerability of urban settlements arises from their inherent complexities and variations in built-form, socio-economic conditions and empowerment of citizens. About one billion people live in poor quality housing and slums in urban areas across the world, which is expected to grow to 1.4 billion by 2020 if stringent measures are not taken to reverse the trend (IFRC, 2010). A huge segment of urban dwellers remains vulnerable to risks. In addition to housing, massive deficits in provision of water and sanitation facilities are characteristics of many urban areas in middle and low income nations. Populations already exposed to these risks and recurrent small-level hazards like drainage congestion and waterlogging, pest infestation andvector-borne diseases become more vulnerable to catastrophic events and may lose the capacity to recover for decades (Dickson et al, 2012). Eight out of the 10 most populous cities in the world are exposed to seismic risks and most of the 30 Asian mega-cities are coastal, vulnerable to floods, cyclones, tsunamis. The concentration of population, housing, infrastructure, economic and socio-cultural activities, trade, commerce and governance in cities aggravate disaster risks so that even a moderate hazard event can cause a huge impact that can have global implications. The Tohuku Earthquake of 2011, with an estimated loss of 210-300 billion USD was the “costliest catastrophe ever” (Sundermann et al., Swiss Re 2013).

Dimensions of Urban Risk in India

  • The Indian urban scenario is characterised by high growth rate and primacy of cities. India’s urban population has increased from 25.85 million in 1901 to 377.2 million in 2011, an increase in share from 10.84 per cent to 31.2 per cent during the same period. This exponential urban growth has been marked by huge concentration of population in metropolitancentres leading to a top-heavy urbanisation process. Out of a total of 7935 urban centres, 468 Class I cities (each with a population exceeding 100,000) accommodates 70.24 per cent of urban population, leaving only 29.76 per cent spread over 7467 smaller towns. 42.62 per cent of urban dwellers reside in 53 million plus cities that occupy 0.2 per cent of the land area (IIHS, 2011). Rapidly increasing urban population and top-heavy urban morphology have led to a complex system of risks and vulnerability. Concentration of population, assets and economic activities characterise large Indian cities, making them the densest and vulnerable cities of the world. The implication of this growth manifests in sub-urbanisation, unplanned development, inadequate urban infrastructure and services. Unsafe buildings and locations, informal livelihoods and environmental deterioration further exacerbate urban risks and vulnerability.
  • Physical, social, economic and environmental dimensions combine to form complex risk scenarios in cities. The physical dimension of urban risks relate to the vulnerability of built form. About 39.9 per cent of total census houses in India have mud, stone or unburnt brick walls, which are vulnerable to very high damage from earthquakes, high winds and cyclones and floods. Burnt brick walls constitute 44.9 per cent of all houses, with high to medium vulnerability to disasters. Relatively stronger concrete and wood walls make up only 3.9 per cent of all houses thereby pointing to the severe vulnerability of built structures. In terms of roofs, light weight sloping roofs (34.8%) are less vulnerable than heavy weight sloping roofs (31.4%). In predominantly urban Delhi, 4.3 per cent houses with weak walls of unburnt brick, mud or stone show high vulnerability to earthquakes, strong wind of velocity 47m/s and floods. 91.7 per cent of houses have moderately vulnerable burnt brick walls, with medium vulnerability while only two percent have concrete or wood walls and another 1.9 per cent has walls of other materials, both showing medium to low vulnerability (Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council, 2006).
  • Socio-economic implications of risk are complex factors of migration, unsafe livelihoods, poverty, lack of access to public amenities and services. In addition to housing, massive deficits in provision of water and sanitation facilities are characteristics of many urban areas in middle and low income nations. 23.5 per cent of urban population lives in slums, revealing not only critical “shelter poverty” but also lack of basic urban services like water, sanitation and solid waste management. It is estimated that 23 million children under 14 years across Indian cities and towns are at risk from poor sanitation and eight million are at risk from poor water supply (High Powered Expert Committee, 2011).
  • Urban environmental risks arise from the complex interactions between the physical and social systems over space. Most major cities of the worldare located in coastal regions or near river deltas, thus increasing their risk of hydro-meteorological disasters. Rapid urbanisation has exposed more people to natural hazards by way of habitation on river flood plains, unstable slopes and coastlines. Urban form influences the urban ecosystem in terms of heat island effect, emission patterns and energy demand. Rapid urban transformation of the world combined with a changing climate is fast changing the risk profile of cities. Though long-term changes in trends of losses from disasters are not directly attributed to natural and anthropogenic climate change, it nevertheless adds additional dimensions of risk in an already complex urban system (Jha et al, 2013). Climate change implications of temperature and precipitation increase, sea level rise, intense cyclones have serious bearing on the risk of cities (Dodman, 2009,Dickson et al, 2012). While sea level rise and storm surges threaten coastal habitats and infrastructure, excess and intense precipitation causes higher frequency of flooding, urban landslides, road sinking, vector-borne diseases and epidemics, extreme heat and cold wave leads to higher morbidity and mortality, heat island effect, increased energy demand, water and air pollution, thereby adding to the complexity of risk scenario. The low and middle income nations are estimated to be most affected by climate change impacts (IFRC, 2010). An adaptive, inclusive, responsive and redundant approach to build urban resilience is imperative for risk-sensitive urban development (Jha et al 2013).

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All-India Tiger Estimation 2018 : Civil Services Mentor Magazine: MARCH - 2018

::All-India Tiger Estimation 2018::

Tiger act as a symbol of the richness of the ecosystem, thus conservation of tigers is necessary to protect the wilderness of the entire ecosystem. Wilderness play an important role in providing the life support system in any ecosystem. For the survival of the mankind it is necessary to preserve the wilderness. Tigers constitute the topmost level in the heirarcy of the food chain and they play a very important role in the ecosystem. Food chain are generally inverted so harm to the topmost carnivores will adversely impact a large number of species in the lower level. All the species in a food chain are interlinked cornivores help in maintain the population which help in retaining the population of grass and trees and later are the primary source of food for entire food chain. Thus every specy including tiger has importance in the ecosystem and importance of the specy increases if it is in the higher trophic level.

There are various reasons which provides a threat of Tiger protection. Important among them are:

  • Despite several measures taken by government poaching still continue.
  • Due to continous reduction in forest land, habitat for Tiger has been reducing continously.
  • Pray for the Tiger are also decreasing.
  • Some of the Tigers live outside the protected area, there conservation is extremely difficult.

For the protection of Tigers, the Government of India has taken a pioneering initiative for conserving its national animal, the tiger, by launching the ‘Project Tiger’ in 1973. AT the begining Project Tiger covered only 8 Tiger reserves and it has now expanded to 47. The tiger coservation is based upon a core and buffer area strategy. The core areas are given more protection from human interference. They are also provided with the legal backing as national park or a sanctuary. The buffer or peripheral areas have mixture of land which is forest as well as non forest. Important points in Project Tiger are:

  • The Project Tiger aims to foster an exclusive tiger agenda in the core areas of tiger reserves, with an inclusive people oriented agenda in the buffer.
  • Project Tiger is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has an overarching supervisory / coordination role for Tiger conservation, performing functions as provided in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

The All-India Tiger Estimation, 2018 exercise promises not just to be hi-tech, but will also be far more accurate and precise than ever before. The phone application automatically records the track log of surveys and line transects, as well as authenticates the recorded data on signs and animal sightings with geo-tagged photographs. With increased camera trap density and the use of android technology, estimates arrived at are likely to be more robust – both in terms of accuracy and precision. This becomes evident from the fact that compared to the exercise conducted in the year 2006, when 9, 700 cameras were put up, the 2018 Estimation will use nearly 15, 000 cameras. It was also pointed out that it is not possible to count the photograph of every tiger in the camera trap.

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India State of Forest Report 2017 : Civil Services Mentor Magazine: MARCH - 2018

::India State of Forest Report 2017::

India ranks among the top ten countries of the world in terms of forest area, despite the fact that none of the other 9 countries has a population density of more than 150 persons per sq km, compared to India, which has a population density of 382 persons per sq km. India is ranked 10th in the world, with 24.4% of land area under forest and tree cover, even though it accounts for 2.4 % of the world surface area and sustains the needs of 17 % of human and 18 % livestock population. Despite such tremendous population and pressures of livestock on our forests, India has been able to preserve and expand its forest wealth. As per the latest FAO report, India is placed 8th in the list of Top Ten nations reporting the greatest annual net gain in forest area.

Latest assessment shows that there is an increase of 8, 021 sq km (about 80.20 million hectare) in the total forest and tree cover of the country, compared to the previous assessment in 2015. The increase in the forest cover has been observed as 6,778 sq km and that of tree cover as 1, 243 sq km. The total forest and tree cover is 24.39 per cent of the geographical area of the country, much of the increase in the forest cover has been observed in Very Dense Forest (VDF), as VDF absorbs maximum carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The increase in forest cover in VDF is followed by increase in open forest.

Andhra Pradesh (2141 sq km), followed by Karnataka (1101 sq km) and Kerala (1043 sq km) have shown the maximum increase in forest cover. Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover of 77,414 sq km in the country in terms of area, followed by Arunachal Pradesh with 66,964 sq km and Chhattisgarh (55,547 sq km). In terms of percentage of forest cover with respect to the total geographical area, Lakshadweep with (90.33 per cent) has the highest forest cover, followed by Mizoram (86.27 per cent) and Andaman & Nicobar Island (81.73 per cent). The value of forests is more for the people living in and around forests, hence the most critical issue is for whom is this exercising being conducted. Forests do not exist in isolation and the benefits of the forests must be transferred to the people. He stressed that issues related to agro-forestry and degraded forests must be paid attention to.

The present assessment also reveals that 15 states/UT’s have above 33 per cent of the geographical area under forest cover. Out of these States and Union Territories, seven States/UTs namely Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Manipur have more than 75 per cent forest cover, while 8 states - Tripura, Goa, Sikkim, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Chhattisgarh and Assam have forest cover between 33 per cent to 75 per cent. About 40% per cent of the country’s forest cover is present in 9 large contiguous patches of the size of 10, 000, or more. As per the ISFR 2017, the total mangrove cover stands at 4,921 sq km and has shown an increase of 181 sq km. All the 12 mangrove states have shown a positive change in the mangrove cover, as compared to the last assessment. Mangrove ecosystem is rich in biodiversity and provides a number of ecological services. The total growing stock of India’s forest and trees outside forests is estimated as 5,822.377 million cum, of which 4,218.380 million cum is inside the forests and 1,603.997 million cum outside. There is an increase of 53.990 million cum of total growing stock, as compared to the previous assessment. Out of this the increase in growing stock, there is an increase of 23.333 million cum inside the forest and 30.657 million cum outside the forest area. The total carbon stock in the country’s forest is estimated to be 7,082 million tonnes, which shows an increase of 38 million tonnes, as compared to the previous assessment.

The extent of bamboo-bearing area in the country has been estimated at 15.69 million ha. In comparison to the last assessment done in 2011, there has been an increase of 1.73 million ha in bamboo area. The growing stock of the bamboo in forest has been estimated to be 189 million tonnes. There is an increase of 19 million tonnes in the bamboo-growing stock as compared to the last assessment done in 2011. The total annual potential production of timer from trees outside forest has been estimated at 74.51 million cum. The Government has recently enacted a Bill in the Parliament for taking out bamboo from the tree category, where it is grown outside forest areas. This will encourage people to grow bamboo on private lands, which will be helpful in increasing the livelihood opportunities for farmers and also enhance the green cover and carbon stock of the country.

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(The Gist of Science Reporter) Nagaland Falls Back on Traditional Rice [FEB-2018]

(The Gist of Science Reporter) Nagaland Falls Back on Traditional Rice [FEB-2018]

Nagaland Falls Back on Traditional Rice

Digital Gender Atlas : Civil Services Mentor Magazine: MARCH - 2018

::Digital Gender Atlas::

India has achieved high enrolment rates for girls at primary and upper primary levels of schooling. However, at the secondary level girls' enrolment remains low. Pockets of low performance persist across the country in many states. That all girls are not in school yet, is amply reflected in the low rural female literacy rates, the prevalence of Special Focus Districts (SFD) and Educationally Backward Blocks (EBB), low attendance rates and the number and proportion of out of school girls. What the data reveals about girls’ needs further analysis to identify the bottlenecks for targeted planning, for effective implementation and monitoring.

In this scenario, a Gender Atlas for the country has been developed to highlight the issues, geographies and social background of girls that are still a concern and require urgent attention. The Gender Atlas is based on existing data and highlights problem areas to serve as pointers for intervention priorities. It is seen as a management tool that can focus on 'demand' and 'supply' side issues alike that impinge on girls' education.

Objectives of the Atlas

  • To identify low performing geographic pockets for girls,particularly from marginalised groups such as scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and Muslim minorities, on specific gender related education indicators.
  •  To ensure equitable education with a focus on vulnerable girls, including girls with disabilities, the Gender Atlas has been developed as a hands on management tool to enable critical decisions and action in pockets where performance is below par.

Salient features

  • The architecture of the Atlas enables dynamic navigation between geographical representation and numeric data that presents State, District and Block level status on key parameters for girls' education at primary, upper primary and secondary levels. Thus, upon making a change in either the Search/Geo Search Tabs, the maps on the screen automatically change.
  • The Atlas provides a comparative composite index based on quartile ranking of gender related indicators at National,State, District and Block levels.
  • The Atlas enables a trend analysis and tracking of performance of individual gender related parameters across periods of time.
  • The Atlas is constructed on an open source platform with an in-built scope of updating data by authorized persons to retain its dynamic character.

Data sources and analysis

  • The Atlas is based primarily on District Information System for Education (DISE) and Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE) data (2011- 2014), the National Education Management Information System (EMIS) for elementary and secondary education.
  • The Atlas draws on the Census of India 2011 for data on rural female literacy rates, working children in the school going age group, and the District Level Household and Facility Survey (DLHS) 2007-08 for data on age at marriage.
  • No primary data has been generated for developing the Atlas.
  • The analysis framework and formulae used in the EMIS has been used for data analysis and indexing. See the web link provided in the Indicator menu for further details on formulae used.
  • The Atlas uses the quartile ranking method to provide a comparative picture of performance on gender related education indicators within specific geographies. The quartile method simply partitions the data into four groups.
  • Quartile 1 or the lowest group contains the data points which accommodate the lowest 25% of data and so on for each subsequent group of data.
  • This is a broad segregation of the data for visualization and the variation of data range with in the quartiles can be different from map to map.
  • Thus, the data range for each quartile for an indicator is created on the basis of the lowest and highest value of data for that particular indicator by dividing them into four parts.

Mapping and Visualizations

Visualization is based on the Map Management Information System (MMIS) technology that enables innovative visualization of data on maps. MMIS technology enables visual analytics in map mode that can be clustered to vulnerable geographic locations and helps users toremotely monitor the situation/progress of ongoing programmes to identify areas that require special focus.

Digital Gender Atlas has been developed to identify the low performing geographic pockets for girls, particularly from marginalized groups such as scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and Muslim minorities, on specific gender related education indicators.

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