Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Caste based Census
- Purchasing Manager’s Index
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Caste Based Census
Context : A multi-party meeting held in Bihar on Wednesday unanimously decided to start the caste-based census very soon.
What is the caste census?
- Caste census means inclusion of caste-wise tabulation of population in the Census exercise.
- From 1951 to 2011, every census in India has published the population of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, comprising the Dalits and the Adivasis, along with the gamut of data including religions, languages, socio-economic status, etc. It, however, has never counted OBC’s, the lower and intermediate castes which roughly constitute about 52 percent of the country’s population. All castes other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are marked in the general category.
What are the benefits of caste census?
- A modern State cannot but count every category of citizens that it recognises for purposes of any social policy. India’s social equality programmes cannot be a success without the data and a caste census would help fix that. Due to the lack of data, there is no proper estimate for the population of OBCs, groups within the OBCs and more. The Mandal Commission estimated the OBC population at 52 per cent, while some others have pinned the OBC population from 36 to 65 per cent.
- The census would ‘besides resolving the needless mystery about the size of the OBC population, census enumeration would yield a wealth of demographic information (sex ratio, mortality rate, life expectancy), educational data (male and female literacy, ratio of school-going population, number of graduates) and policy relevant information about economic conditions (house-type, assets, occupation) of the OBCs’.
- A caste-based census could go a long way in bringing a measure of objectivity to the debate on reservations. According to the Rohini Commission, which was formed to look into equitable redistribution of the 27 per cent quota for OBCs, noted that there are around 2,633 castes covered under the OBC reservation. However, the Centre’s reservation policy from 1992 doesn’t take into account that there exists within the OBCs, a separate category of Extremely Backward Castes, who are much more marginalised. Its absence also results in inadequate budgetary allocations by governments to OBCs.
Why conducting a caste census is a herculean task?
- If a caste census was to be carried out, one could be sure that the exercise would be gargantuan and taxing. While carrying out the enumeration, officials would have to ask each person which caste they belonged to. However, the 1951 Census marked a complete departure from the traditional recording of race, tribe or caste and the only relevant question on caste or tribe incorporated in the Census Schedule was to enquire if the person enumerated was a member of any ‘Scheduled Caste’, or any ‘Scheduled Tribe’ or any other ‘Backward class’ or if he was an ‘Anglo Indian’.
- In 1961 and 1971 Censuses the information was collected only for each Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe. Today, if the caste census was to be carried out, a few problems would arise. One of them being that the names of some castes are found in both the list of Scheduled Castes and list of OBCs. Also, there may be issues as some people would be spelling their caste differently from others and that would lead to an inaccurate count.
- Another issue with collecting the information is that those who collect the data simply record the answer. The enumerator is not an investigator or verifier. The enumerator has no training or expertise to classify the answer as OBC or otherwise.
- These issues then give rise to the fact that the census questionnaire would have to be modified to add the names of all the castes – not an easy exercise, as many haven’t even been listed. This would lead to a further delay in carrying out the mammoth exercise, which has already been put off by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- A change in the questionnaire would lead to more money being spent – not only to print the new copies, but also to train the enumerator to add the new caste.
What are the perils of knowing caste-wise population?
- Such a count would reveal how the OBC population is well in excess of the 52 percent identified by the Mandal commission, spurring demands for more quotas.
- There are others who state that in the 21st century India should be discussing ‘let’s do away with caste’ rather than further divide India on those lines. They believe that the caste census will create further divisions within the society.
- Additionally, reservations that were implemented for 10 years have continued for 75 years and a caste-based census would only lead to a demand for more.
- The opponents of the exercise sum it up thus — a caste-based Census could halt India in its tracks, hurting its chances of becoming a global superpower.
Facts for Prelims
Caste data in CensusThe first census in India was held in 1872 by its then colonial rulers — the British — in order to better know the subjects it ruled over. One of the heads under which data was gathered was caste and this practice was continued till 1931 in which the count of Other Backward Classes was shown to be 52 per cent.
However, in 1941, caste-based data was collected but not published. MWM Yeats, the then Census Commissioner, said a note: “There would have been no all India caste table… The time is past for this enormous and costly table as part of the central undertaking…” This was during World War II.
Once India gained freedom, however, it curtailed this exercise and from 1951, the only caste-wise data collected was on Dalits and Adivasis, which meant that no caste data had been collected for more than three-fourths of Indians.
2 . Purchasing Manager’s Index
Context : Indian manufacturers won new orders in May at almost the same pace as in April despite raising prices at the fastest rate in more than eight-and-a-half years amid a sharp jump in input costs, as per the S&P Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index survey.
About the News
- The PMI index stood at 54.6, easing marginally from 54.7 in April. A reading of over 50 indicates an expansion in activity. May marks the 11th month in a row that India’s manufacturing PMI reflected an expansion.
- New export order growth quickened, posting the best expansion in 11 years.
- Manufacturing sector jobs grew for the second month in a row, owing to ongoing improvements in sales and although the pace of job creation was ‘only slight’, it was still the strongest recorded since January 2020,
- Despite the broader buoyancy, business sentiment was dampened by inflation concerns.
What is PMI index ?
- Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is a survey-based economic indicator designed to provide a timely insight into business conditions.
- The PMI is widely used to anticipate changing economic trends in official data such as GDP, or sometimes as an alternative gauge of economic performance and business conditions to official data, as the latter sometimes suffer from delays in publication, poor availability or data quality issues.
- The PMI is produced globally by IHS Markit although a small number of trade associations also produce local PMIs in certain markets, such as the ISM in the United States.
What does the Purchasing Managers’ Index measure?
- The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is a survey-based indicator of business conditions, which includes individual measures (‘sub-indices’) of business output, new orders, employment, costs, selling prices, exports, purchasing activity, supplier performance, backlogs of orders and inventories of both inputs and finished goods, where applicable.
- The surveys ask respondents to report the change in each variable compared to the prior month, noting whether each has risen/improved, fallen/deteriorated or remained unchanged.
- These objective questions are accompanied by one subjective ‘sentiment’ question asking companies whether they forecast their output to be higher, the same or lower in a year’s time.
- Originally compiled for manufacturing, IHS Markit pioneered the extension of coverage to other sectors in the 1990s, including services, construction and retail.
- The PMI and its sub-indices are widely used to anticipate changing economic trends in official data such as GDP, or sometimes as an alternative gauge of economic performance and business conditions to official data, as the latter sometimes suffer from delays in publication, poor availability or data quality issues.
What is Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s index
- A manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index is a survey-based economic indicator designed to provide a timely insight into changing business conditions in the goods-producing sector.
What is a services PMI?
- The services PMI was introduced in 1996 by IHS Markit’s economists (known as NTC Research at the time) to accompany the existing manufacturing PMI.
- With the service sector accounting for a larger proportion of GDP than manufacturing for most developed economies, the services PMI was born out of a need for analysts (and in particular central bank policymakers) to better understand changing business conditions in the wider economy.
- The services PMI has fewer questions than the manufacturing PMI due to some questions, such as inventories, not being relevant to many service providers.
- Coverage includes financial services, consumer services and all other business services.
Composite Purchasing Managers Index
- The composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an indicator of economic health for manufacturing and service sectors.
- The purpose of the PMI is to provide information about current business conditions to company decision makers, analysts and purchasing managers.
- Each country PMI survey for the manufacturing or service sector is based on questionnaire responses from panels of senior purchasing executives (or similar) at over 400 companies.
- The composite PMI is a number from 0 to 100. A PMI above 50 represents an expansion when compared with the previous month.
- A PMI reading under 50 represents a contraction, and a reading at 50 indicates no change
- The PMI is widely seen as an accurate and timely indicator of business conditions that helps analysts and economists to correctly anticipate changing economic trends in official data series such as gross domestic products (GDP), industrial production, employment and inflation. Because PMI data are sometimes released months ahead of comparable official data, the PMI surveys are ranked among the world’s most market moving economic data releases.
3 . Facts for Prelims
Myocardial infarction (MI) – Heart Attack
- MI, commonly known as a heart attack, is caused by a reduction or stoppage of blood flow to a portion of the heart muscles (myocardium) in the middle layer of the heart wall. These muscles are responsible for keeping the heart pumping blood.
- When the coronary artery is obstructed, the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscles is cut off. Prolonged deprivation of oxygen-rich blood can result in cell death or damage to the heart muscles.
- “When we are born, our arteries are smooth and elastic, resulting in very good blood flow. Over time, cholesterol is deposited on the inside of arteries
- The major triggers are age, chronic health conditions, and comorbidities like diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, tobacco use, stress, a sedentary lifestyle, and genetics
- Due to continuous cholesterol deposition on the arterial walls, a crack appears in the inner lining of the heart muscle, causing the blood to clot. The moment this obstructs the artery, a heart attack occurs. So, although the causative process is gradual, the heart attack itself happens suddenly
- A heart attack manifests itself through some discomfort, such as chest pain, which can spread to the neck, jaw, shoulder, or arm.
- Sudden cardiac arrest happens 80-90% of the time due to a heart attack, but in about 15-20% of the cases, it happens without a heart attack or stoppage of heart function. This explains the death of some athletes. This happens because the heart suddenly becomes irregular in pumping blood — either because the heart muscles have become thick and need more blood supply, or because there is electrical instability in some parts of the heart muscles
Liquid Nano urea
- Urea is a chemical nitrogen fertiliser, white in colour, which artificially provides nitrogen, a major nutrient required by plants.
- Liquid Nano urea is essentially urea in the form of a nanoparticle. The product has been developed at IFFCO’s Nano Biotechnology Research Centre (NBRC) at Kalol.
- Apart from reducing the country’s subsidy bill, it is aimed at reducing the unbalanced and indiscriminate use of conventional urea, increase crop productivity, and reduce soil, water, and air pollution.
- While conventional urea has an efficiency of about 25 per cent, the efficiency of liquid nano urea can be as high as 85-90 per cent. Conventional urea fails to have the desired impact on crops as it is often applied incorrectly, and the nitrogen in it is vaporised or lost as gas. A lot of nitrogen is also washed away during irrigation.
- Liquid nano urea is sprayed directly on the leaves and gets absorbed by the plant. Fertilisers in nano form provide a targeted supply of nutrients to crops, as they are absorbed by the stomata, pores found on the epidermis of leaves, officials said. IFFCO advises that 2-4 ml of nano urea should be mixed a litre of water and sprayed on crop leaves at active growth stages.
- Liquid nano urea has a shelf life of a year, and farmers need not be worried about “caking” when it comes in contact with moisture.
- According to IFFCO, liquid nano urea contains 4 per cent total nitrogen (w/v) evenly dispersed in water. The size of a nano nitrogen particle varies from 20-50 nm. (A nanometre is equal to a billionth of a metre.)
National Commission for Women
- The National Commission for Women was set up as statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 ( Act No. 20 of 1990 of Govt.of India ) to :
- review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women ;
- recommend remedial legislative measures ;
- facilitate redressal of grievances and
- advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.
- The commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely :-
- Investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other laws,
- present to the Central Government, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguard,
- make in such reports recommendations for the effective implementation of those safeguards for the improving the conditions of women by the Union or any state,
- review, from time to time, the exiting provisions of the Constitution and other laws affecting women and recommend amendments thereto so as to suggest remedial legislative measures to meet any lacunae, inadequacies or shortcomings in such legislations,
- take up cases of violation of the provisions of the Constitution and of other laws relating to women with the appropriate authorities,
- look into complaints and take suo moto notice of matters relating to:-