Odisha [OPSC] Current Affairs - 2020

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Global Infant Mortality Rate came down to 37: UNICEF report

As per United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report on the global Infant Mortality rate (IMR) declined from 61 deaths in 1990 to 37 deaths in 2011. Annual infant deaths decreased from 8.4 million in 1990 to 5 million in 2011.

Although India has more IMR than the global average, it has shown a minor decline in IMR in 2012 compared to 2011. It decreased from 44 deaths for every 1000 live births in 2011 to 42 deaths for every 1000 live in 2012. Some findings of the report:

  • In India, Kerala has IMR of 12 which is least compared to other states.
  • The worst is Assam with IMR 55.
  • West Bengal also performed badly with IMR 32.
  • Some improvement was seen in case of Uttar Pradesh and Odisha whose IMR declined from 57 in 2011 to 53 in 2012 in both states.
  • Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu registered a one-point decrease in IMR.
  • Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir improved their IMR by 2 points.
  • Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi and Karnataka reduced their IMR by 3 points.
What are the main causes for high IMR in India?

Low awareness about health and reproductive rights, maternal anemia and malnutrition are the main causes for high infant mortality rate in India. Infant Mortality rate (IMR) is the number of deaths of children less than one year of age per 1000 live births.

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Rajan Committee’s new methodology to replace ‘special category’ status for devolution of funds to States

The panel set up by the government under the chairmanship of the then Chief Economic Advisor Raghuram Rajan (now RBI governor) has suggested ending the ‘special category’ criteria for providing additional assistance to poorer states.

Why did the government set up the Rajan Committee?

The Union Government set up Raghuram Rajan Committee amid demands for “special category” status by Bihar and some other status to get additional financial assistance from the Centre. The Committee was tasked to suggest methods for identifying backwardness of states using a variety of criteria and also to recommend how the criteria may be reflected in future planning and devolution of funds from the central government to the states.

What are the key recommendations of the Rajan Committee?

The Rajan Committee has made two key recommendations for devolution of funds to states. They are:

a) A new methodology based on a ‘Multi Dimensional Index (MDI)’.

Depending on the scores of the 28 states on the MDI, they will be split into 3 categories:

  1. Least developed
  2. Less developed
  3. Relatively developed

b) Each state should get a basic fixed allocation and an additional allocation depending on its development needs and development performance. 

As per the Committee, these two recommendations, along with the allocation methodology, will effectively subsume what is now “Special Category” status.

According to the MDI scores: 
  • Least Developed states: Odisha, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
  • Less Developed states: Manipur, West Bengal, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Gujarat, Tripura, Karnataka, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh.
  • Relatively Developed states: Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Maharashtra, Uttrakhand and Haryana.

The Department of Economic Affairs will soon examine the report and take necessary action.

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