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Current Affairs 19th January 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Rainfall rising in over half of India’s sub-districts

Context: The study, conducted by researchers from the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), analysed high-resolution meteorological data from 1982 to 2022 provided by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Findings Of The Study

  • Increased Rainfall in Majority of Tehsils: Over half of India’s tehsils have experienced an increase in rainfall, according to a detailed analysis of Indian monsoon changes.
  • Decrease During Critical Monsoon Periods: Around 11% of tehsils have seen a decrease in rainfall, predominantly during the vital southwest monsoon months, which are crucial for sowing kharif crops.
  • Geographical Variations: The decrease in rainfall is significantly noted in the Indo-Gangetic plains, northeastern India, and the Indian Himalayan region, areas crucial for India’s agricultural production.
  • District-Level Extremes: While India experienced varying monsoon patterns over the four decades, a district-level analysis revealed that 30% of districts had more years of deficient rainfall and 38% had years of excessive rainfall.
  • Increased Frequency of Heavy Rainfall: A significant increase in heavy rainfall days was observed in nearly 64% of Indian tehsils, particularly in states with high GDPs such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Karnataka.
  • Northeast Monsoon Trends: The northeast monsoon, affecting peninsular India, has seen a more than 10% increase in rainfall over the past decade in a majority of tehsils in Tamil Nadu and substantial portions of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Winter Rainfall and Cyclonic Activity: Increasing winter rainfall in certain tehsils of Maharashtra, Goa, Odisha, and West Bengal is partly attributed to cyclonic activity in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.

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Over half of youth struggling with basic maths: ASER study

Context: The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), titled “Beyond Basics”, was released here. It involved a survey by the civil society organisation Pratham among rural students aged 14 to 18.

Key Highlights Of The Report

  • Enrollment Rates: 86.8% of youth aged 14 to 18 are enrolled in an educational institution. However, enrollment decreases with age, from 96.1% for 14-year-olds to 67.4% for 18-year-olds.
  • Gender Gaps: There are minor gender gaps in enrollment, with notable differences becoming apparent with age.
  • Educational Streams: Most students in this age group are enrolled in the Arts/Humanities stream. In Class 11 and above, 55.7% are in Arts/Humanities, while a smaller percentage of girls (28.1%) compared to boys (36.3%) are enrolled in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) stream.
  • Basic Reading and Math Abilities: About 25% of the youth cannot fluently read a Class 2 level text in their regional language. Over half struggle with division problems (3-digit by 1-digit), with only 43.3% able to solve these correctly, a skill expected by Standard III/IV.
  • English Reading and Comprehension: A little over half of the youth (57.3%) can read sentences in English, and among these, approximately three-quarters (73.5%) can understand their meanings.
  • Digital Awareness and Skills: Around 90% of the youth have access to a smartphone in their household and know how to use it.

Wheat stocks above buffer but plunge to a 7 year low

Context: According to official data, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies were holding 163.5 lakh tonnes (lt) of the cereal as on January 1, the lowest for this date since the 137.5 lt of 2017.

More In News

  • Current Stock Levels: The current stocks are higher than the minimum buffer of 138 lakh tonnes (lt), which includes a three-month operational requirement of 108 lt and a strategic reserve of 30 lt.
  • Rice Stock Levels: Rice stocks, including grain derived from un-milled paddy, are at 516.5 lt, significantly above the minimum buffer norm of 76.1 lt for January 1.
  • Overall Stock Levels: The combined stock levels of wheat and rice are at 680 lt, comfortably exceeding the required 214.1 lt (164.1 lt operational requirement plus 50 lt strategic reserve).

Implementation of PLI

Context: Production Linked Incentive Schemes witness over Rs. 1.03 lakh crore of investment till Nov 2023.

Data Related To PLI Scheme

  • Employment: Employment generation (direct & indirect) of over 6.78 lakh individuals.
  • Exports: Exports have surpassed Rs. 3.20 lakh crore.
  • Sector Contributions: Significant sectors include Large-Scale Electronics Manufacturing, Pharmaceuticals, Food Processing, and Telecom & Networking products.
  • MSME Beneficiaries: 176 MSMEs are among the beneficiaries in various sectors.
  • Incentive Disbursement: Around Rs. 4,415 crore disbursed as incentives for 8 sectors.
  • Local Manufacturing: Local manufacturing of various electronic components.
    • PLI beneficiaries have about 20% market share but contributed to approximately 82% of mobile phone exports in FY 2022-23.
  • Mobile Phone Production and Exports: Mobile phone production increased by more than 125%.
    • Export of mobile phones increased by ~4 times since FY 2020-21.
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): FDI increased by ~254% since the inception of the PLI scheme for Large-Scale Electronics Manufacturing (LSEM).
  • Pharmaceuticals: Significant reduction in raw material imports. Manufacturing of unique intermediate materials and bulk drugs like Penicillin-G in India.
  • Medical Devices Production: Production of 39 medical devices has commenced.
  • Telecom Sector: 60% import substitution achieved. Sales increased by 370% in FY 2023-24 compared to the base year FY 2019-20.
  • Drone Industry: Significant impact on investment with a CAGR of 90.74%.
  • Food Processing: Increase in sourcing of raw materials from India.
    • Sales of organic products increased.
    • Indian brand visibility in the international market has been enhanced.
    • Increased millet procurement from 668 MT (FY 20-21) to 3,703 MT (FY 22-23).
  • Atmanirbhar Vision: PLI Schemes for 14 key sectors with an incentive outlay of Rs. 1.97 lakh crore (over US$26 billion) are under implementation.

Mineral Production

Context: The index of mineral production of the mining and quarrying sector for the month of November, 2023 (Base: 2011-12=100) at 131.1, is 6.8 % higher as compared to the level in the month of November, 2022.

Mineral Production in November 2023 Year-on-Year Growth
Cumulative Growth (April-November 2023-24) 9.1%
Coal 845 lakh tonne 11%
Lignite 33 lakh tonne 2%
Natural Gas (Utilized) 2991 million cu. m. 7.6%
Petroleum (Crude) 24 lakh tonne -0.4%
Bauxite 2174 thousand tonne -2.4%
Chromite 135 thousand tonne -44.6%
Copper Concentrate 9 thousand tonne -5.3%
Gold 85 kg -35.6%
Iron Ore 250 lakh tonne 8%
Lead Concentrate 29 thousand tonne -4.6%
Manganese Ore 287 thousand tonne 4.7%
Zinc Concentrate 136 thousand tonne 1.7%
Limestone 352 lakh tonne 6.5%
Phosphorite 101 thousand tonne -50.7%
Magnesite 98 thousand tonne 14.1%
Diamond -92.9%

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