Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (20th April)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you

1. Scientists improve plastics eating capacity of bacteria

Scientists have accidently created a mutant enzyme that can aid in combating the scourge of pollution from plastic, especially Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plastic, which is used to make plastic bottles.

2. Demographic dividend, growth and jobs

The benefit of a demographic dividend depends on whether the bulge in working population can be trained, and enough jobs created.

India has one of the youngest populations in an aging world

  1. By 2020, the median age in India will be just 28, compared to 37 in China and the US, 45 in Western Europe, and 49 in Japan
  2. Importance: Demographics can change the pace and pattern of economic growth

What is demographic dividend?

  1. Demographic dividend refers to the growth in an economy that is the resultant effect of a change in the age structure of a country’s population
  2. The change in age structure is typically brought on by a decline in fertility and mortality rates

Demographic dividend can increase economic growth through six channels

  1. The first channel is through the swelling of the labour force, as more people reach working age
  2. The second channel is the increased fiscal space created by the demographic dividend to divert resources from spending on children to investing in physical and human infrastructure
  3. The third channel is the rise in women’s workforce that naturally accompanies a decline in fertility, and which can be a new source of growth
  4. The fourth is the increase in savings rate, as the working age also happens to be the prime period for saving
  5. The fifth channel is an additional boost to savings that occurs as the incentive to save for longer periods of retirement increases with greater longevity
  6. The sixth channel is a massive shift towards a middle-class society that is already in the making

But demographic dividend can also transform into a curse

  1. The growth benefit of a demographic dividend is not automatic
  2. A lot depends on whether the bulge in working population can be trained, and enough jobs created to employ the 10 million more people who will join the labour force every year
  3. There is mounting concern that future growth could turn out to be jobless due to de-industrialization, de-globalization, and the fourth industrial revolution and technological progress
  4. While digital technologies may enable the creation of new products and more productive jobs, they may also substitute existing jobs
  5. India may not be able to take advantage of these opportunities, due to a low human capital base and lack of skills

State-wise opportunity

  1. Whether the demographic dividend promotes growth or transforms into a curse depends on how prepared the states that should benefit from a young population are
  2. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other lagging states will experience a much bigger bulge in working population than more developed states like Tamil Nadu
  3. Unfortunately, the less-developed states are also the least prepared to take advantage of the demographic change they will undergo

India’s human capital is not enough

  1. India’s human capital base may not be adequate for the future or in a position to benefit from the demographic dividend
  2. India is home to the world’s largest concentration of illiterate people in the world
  3. It has made gains in human development, but challenges remain
    (human capital: the skills, knowledge, and experience possessed by an individual or population, viewed in terms of their value or cost to an organization or country)

What should be done?: Building human capital

  1. Investing more and more efficiently in people will enable India to tap into its demographic divided, and prepare the country for the future
  2. There is a powerful link between these investments and economic growth, stability and security
  3. Investing in people through healthcare, quality education, jobs and skills helps build human capital,
  4. which is key to supporting economic growth, ending extreme poverty, and creating more inclusive societies
  5. New technology could be exploited to accelerate the pace of building human capital, including massive open online courses and virtual classrooms
  6. Policymakers should have a greater incentive to redouble their efforts to promote human capital so that it can contribute to economic growth and job creation

3. World Bank praises India’s Aadhaar push

India has significantly reduced the gender gap in providing access to financial services with 77% women against 83% men having bank accounts, the World Bank says

Positive statement from the World Bank on Aadhar push

  1. According to the World Bank, India’s “strong government” push to increase account ownership through biometric identification cards helped narrow both the gender gap and the gap between the rich and poor

Particulars of the Global Findex database 2017
(of the World Bank)

  1. According to the datatbase, India has significantly reduced the gender gap in providing access to financial services with 77% women against 83% men having bank accounts
  2. In India three years ago, men were 20 percentage points more likely than women to have an account
  3. Today, India’s gender gap has shrunk to 6 percentage points thanks to a strong government push to increase account ownership through biometric identification cards

Global condition

  1. Globally, 65% of women have an account compared with 72% of men, a gap of seven percentage points that has been unchanged since 2011

Unbanked population in India

  1. The World Bank noted that India has 190 million adults without a bank account despite the success of the ambitious Jan Dhan Yojana, making it the world’s second largest unbanked population after that of China (225 million)

India is setting example of transparency through Aadhar

  1. The world bank gave the example of India on how switching from cash to digital payments can reduce corruption and improve efficiency
  2. According to the bank, in India the leakage of funds for pension payments dropped by 47% (2.8 percentage points) when the payments were made through biometric smart cards rather than being handed out in cash

4. NSA to head new Defence panel

The new permanent higher defence management committee : The Defence Planning Committee (DPC) 

  1. It will be headed by the National Security Adviser
  2. It can help improve India’s defence planning in the long term

Working of the DPC

  1. The DPC would prepare a draft national security strategy, develop a capability development plan and work on defence diplomacy issues and improving defence manufacturing in India
  2. The DPC will submit its reports to the Defence Minister

Four sub-committees under the DPC

  1. The notification listed four sub-committees of the DPC
  2. One will look at policy and strategy;
  3. the second will work on plans and capability development;
  4. the third on defence diplomacy; and
  5. the fourth on defence manufacturing ecosystem
  6. Members of these sub-committees will be decided by the DPC


  1. The DPC will have the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, three service chiefs, secretaries of the Ministries of Defence, Expenditure and Foreign Affairs as its members
  2. The Chief of the Integrated Staff in the MOD will be the member secretary, and his headquarters will be the secretariat

5. It isn’t judge vs judge

Recent events in the Supreme Court are about the judiciary asserting itself against the executive’s overreach.

6. Dealing with the residue

Curbing stubble burning is about inducing behavioural changes in farmers.

Stubble Burning

  1. Stubble burning is the deliberate setting fire of the straw stubble that remains after wheat and other grains have been harvested

Harmful effects on the environment:

  1. Loss of nutrients in the soil
  2. Pollution from smoke
  3. Damage to electrical and electronic equipment from floating threads of conducting waste
  4. Risk of fires spreading out of control

Why is it famous among farmers around the world?

  1. It quickly clears the field and is cheap
  2. It kills weeds, including those resistant to herbicide
  3. It kills slugs and other pests
  4. It can reduce nitrogen tie-up in the soil

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