India tops hunger list
- India is home to the highest number of hungry people in the world, at 194 million, surpassing China, according to the U.N.
- At the global level, the corresponding figure dropped to 795 million in 2014-15, from 1 billion in 1990-92, with East Asia led by China accounting for most of the reductions, UN body Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in its report titled ‘The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015.’ India too saw a reduction between 1990 and 2015, it added. In 1990-92, those who were starved of food in India numbered 210.1 million, which came down to 194.6 million in 2014-15.
- “A majority — 72 out of 129 — of the countries monitored by FAO have achieved the Millennium Development Goal target of halving the prevalence of undernourishment by 2015, with developing regions as a whole missing the target by a small margin,” the report said.
United Nations MDG Target
Christopher appointed head of DRDO
- The government on May 28 appointed distinguished scientist Dr. S. Christopher as Director General of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Dr. G.S. Reddy as Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
- The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved appointment of Dr. Christopher as Secretary, Department of Defence Research and Development-cum-Director General, DRDO for a period of two years from the date of taking over the charge, the Department of Personnel and Training said in a statement.
- While Dr. Christopher is currently Distinguished Scientist and Programme Director (airborne early warning and control system) and Director, Centre for Air-Borne Systems in Bengaluru, Dr. Reddy is Distinguished Scientist and Director, Research Centre Imarat and Programme Director of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) project.
- DRDO has been without a head for the last four months after the contract of Dr. Avinash Chander as Secretary, DoDRD & DG DRDO and Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister was terminated with effect from January 31.
Dr. S. Christopher, DRDO Chief
Chairman of ISRO - A.S. Kiran Kumar
Dark flows the Ganga a year since Modi’s famous ‘aarti’‘
- A year ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to serve the Ganga after attending a Ganga “aarti” at the Dashashwamedh Ghat here to celebrate his electoral victory. But as the government completed its first year in office on May 26, Varanasi, Mr. Modi’s constituency, is divided on whether his government can succeed in the mammoth task of cleaning the river, worshipped as a mother goddess in this ancient pilgrim city.
- Efforts to clean the river have been on since 1986, when the first Ganga Action Plan was announced by the then Congress government.
- Since then, thousands of crores of rupees has been pumped into river conservation efforts without any success.
- This year, the Centre set aside Rs. 20,000 crore for “Namami Ganga”, a project to fix the river’s long-standing pollution problem.
- “If Modi ji succeeds in making the river aviral [continuous] and nirmal [clean], he will be worshipped by his voters,” says Rama Rauta, a former member of the National Ganga River Basin Authority and prominent figure in the “Save the Ganga” movement. Her statement reinforces the strong emotions evoked by the river.
- In Varanasi, Hindu believers and staunch BJP supporters are enthused by the prospect of a cleaner Ganga. Ordinary citizens and party workers pitched in for a massive clean-up as part of the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan on the riverfront on May 3. The usually heavily silted ghats now appear clean.
- But cleaning the river will be a more daunting exercise than cleaning the ghats, river conservation activists says.
- Pointing to the dozens of people bathing and washing clothes by the river side, Dinesh, a boat rower at the Assi Ghat for 30 years now, says: “Nothing has changed so far as pollution of the river is concerned. Isn’t that obvious?”
10 per cent GDP growth is feasible’
- It is necessary and feasible for India to reach 10 per cent GDP growth for the next 10 years, according to new book Resurgent India , authored by Ramgopal Agarwala, Rajiv Kumar and Rajesh Shah.
- Mr. Ramgopal Agarwala, a former executive of World Bank, says India has a wrong concept of fiscal prudence.
- “We have stuck with this idea of fiscal deficit which is basically a flawed concept. If fiscal deficit is for investment and if prudent finance can be mobilised domestically and externally fiscal deficit is not a problem,” he adds.
- Mr. Agarwala also points out that high interest rate policy is counter productive and the rupee is over valued.
- The book also argues that the greater push to services would be important to hit the 10 per cent GDP mark.
- “Construction sector will grow rapidly, communications sector, business services, education and health this has potential to grow at 14 per cent for next 10 years. This is slightly different from Make in India programme, which focuses on manufacturing. We do talk about doubling of manufacturing and agriculture growth. But for 10 per cent GDP we need great push on services sector,” said Mr. Agarwala.