Poverty Current Affairs - 2019
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In its election manifesto for the Lok Sabha Elections 2019, the Congress party has announced a Minimum Income scheme Nyuntam Aay Yojna (Nyay) as a surgical strike against poverty.
Key Facts about the Proposed Scheme
- The Nyay scheme is targeted towards 5 crore families who are the poorest 20 per cent in India.
- Nyay scheme guarantees each family a cash transfer of Rs. 72,000 a year and as far as possible the money will be transferred to a bank account of a woman in the family.
- There will a design phase (3 months), followed by pilot and testing phases (6-9 months) before the rollout of the plan.
- The scheme will be implemented in phases and the estimated cost will be less than 1 per cent of the GDP in the first year, and less than 2 per cent of the GDP in the second year and thereafter.
- As the nominal GDP grows and the families move out of poverty, the cost will decline as a proportion of the GDP.
- If brought to power, Congress announces the appointment of an independent panel of economists, social scientists and statisticians to oversee the design, testing, rollout and implementation of the programme. The programme will move from one stage to the other only after a go-ahead from the panel.
- The Nyay scheme would be a joint scheme of the central and state governments.
- Nyay scheme will be funded through new revenues and rationalisation of expenditure. Current merit subsidy schemes that are intended to achieve specific objectives will be continued.
Economists say that income-support schemes of this type cannot coexist with subsidies on account of the resultant fiscal burden. On a standalone basis, the proposed scheme, for 5 crore households, will add 1.9 per cent of GDP to the fiscal deficit and the projected outlay could be higher than India’s health budget estimated at about 1.4 per cent of GDP.
The Global Environment Outlook (GEO) is the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) flagship environmental assessment. The first publication was in 1997 and was originally requested by the Member States. The Global Environment Outlook Report 2019 is the sixth edition.
Findings of the Report
- The report notes that a quarter of all premature deaths and diseases worldwide are due to manmade pollution and environmental damage.
- The report warns that deadly emissions, chemicals polluting drinking water, and the accelerating destruction of ecosystems crucial to the livelihoods of billions of people are driving a worldwide epidemic that hampers the global economy.
- The report highlights the growing divide between rich and poor as rampant overconsumption, pollution and food waste in the developed world leads to hunger, poverty and disease elsewhere.
- The report notes that as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise amid a preponderance of droughts, floods and superstorms made worse by climbing sea levels, there is a growing political consensus that climate change poses a future risk to billions.
- The report expresses concern that the health impacts of pollution, deforestation and the mechanised food-chain are less well understood.
- The report notes that poor environmental conditions cause approximately 25% of global disease and mortality and resulted in around 9 million deaths in 2015 alone.
- Due to lack of access to clean drinking supplies, 1.4 million people die each year from preventable diseases such as diarrhoea and parasites linked to pathogen-riddled water and poor sanitation.
- The report notes that chemicals pumped into the seas causes potentially multi-generational adverse health effects, and land degradation through mega-farming and deforestation occurs in areas of Earth home to 3.2 billion people.
- The report states that air pollution causes 6-7 million early deaths annually.
- The report calls for a root-and-branch detoxifying of human behaviour while insisting that the situation is not unassailable. Food waste for instance, which accounts for 9% of global greenhouse gas emissions, could be slashed. The world currently throws away a third of all food produced. In richer nations, 56% goes to waste.
The report makes a strong case for a rapid drawdown in greenhouse gas emissions and pesticide use to improve air and water quality. The report also notes lack of any international agreement for the environment close to covering what the 2015 Paris accord does for the climate.