India Current Affairs - 2020

India ranks 138th in World Press Freedom Index 2018

In recently released World Press Freedom Index (WPFI) 2018 by Reporters Without Borders, India was placed at 138th rank out of 180 nations surveyed worldwide in terms of press freedom in 2017. It was ranked at the 135th in WPFI 2017.

Key Facts

Top 10 Countries: Norway (1st), Sweden (2nd), Netherlands (3rd), Finland (4th), Switzerland (5th), Jamaica (6th), Belgium (7th), New Zealand (8th), Denmark (9th) and Costa Rica (10th).

SAARC nations: Afghanistan (118th), Bhutan (94th), Nepal (106th), Maldives (120th), and Sri Lanka (131st), all performed better than India with Pakistan (139th) and Bangladesh (146th) performing worse.

2018 WPFI reflects increasing hostility towards journalists in democratic countries. It showed that media phobia has become more pronounced. It suggests scary picture especially in democratic countries where political leaders are openly threatening journalists, even incarcerating them if they refuse to offer their loyalty. China’s ranking remained unchanged at 175th position for the second year.

As per Index’s definition, quality of press freedom in India is bad. India fared poorly on indicators such as hate speeches, attacks on journalists on social media, trolling them and targeting their reputation. It also mentions that at least 4 journalists were gunned down in India in 2017.

World Press Freedom Index (WPFI)

WPFI is produced by France-based international non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders (RWB), or Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF). It ranks performance of countries according to index calculated based upon various parameters. These parameters include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate. WPFI aims to promotes and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press.

India highest recipient of Remittances in 2017: World Bank

According to recently released Migration and Development Brief by World Bank, India has retained top position as recipient of remittances with about $69 billion in 2017. India was followed by China ($64 billion), Philippines ($33 billion), Mexico ($31 billion), Nigeria ($22 billion) and Egypt ($20 billion).

Key Highlights of Migration and Development Brief

Global remittances: It grew 7% to US $613 billion in 2017, from US $573 billion in 2016. Global remittances are expected to grow 4.6% to $642 billion in 2018. It include flows to high-income countries. The stronger-than-expected recovery in remittances was driven by growth in Europe, Russia and US.

The rebound in global remittances was due to higher oil prices and strengthening of Euro and Ruble. The upsurge is likely to continue into 2018 on back of stronger economic conditions in advanced economies (particularly US) and increase in oil prices that may have positive impact on GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries.

Low-and middle-income countries: Remittances received by these countries in 2017 has reached US $466 billion in 2017. This was an increase of 8.5% over US $429 billion in 2016. India received $69 billion remittances in 2017 as against $62.7 billion in 2016. It had picked up sharply by 9.9%, reversing previous year’s dip (8.9% in 2016), but was still short of $70.4 billion received in 2014.

Remittances to South Asia: It grew a moderate 5.8% to US $117 billion in 2017 and it will likely grow modestly by 2.5% to $120 billion in 2018. Flows to Pakistan (received US $20 billion) and Bangladesh (US $13 billion) were both largely flat in 2017, while Sri Lanka saw small decline (-0.9%).

Global average cost: The of sending $200 was 7.1% in Q1 of 2018, more than twice as high as Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of 3%. Sub-Saharan Africa remained most expensive place to send money to, where the average cost is 9.4%.

Transit migration: The transit migrants-who only stay temporarily in transit country, are usually not able to send money home.  Migration may help migrants to escape poverty or persecution, but many also become vulnerable to exploitation by human smugglers during transit. Host communities in transit countries may find their own poor population competing with new-comers for low-skill jobs.