Indian Economy & Socio-Economic Development Notes: September 12, 2020

Inequality Between Men and Women

  • COVID-19 has increased the inequality between men and women living in poverty, according to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women report.
  • The poverty rate for women was earlier projected to decrease by 2.7 per cent between 2019 and 2021, but with the coming of the pandemic, it has increased to 9.1 per cent, showed the data released September 2, 2020.
  • By 2021, for every 100 men living in poverty between ages 25 and 34 years globally on $1.9 (Rs 139.38) a day, there will be 121 poor women by 2030, said the report.
  • This number was earlier projected to be 118 women for every 100 men by 2021.
  • Women are more prone to be at the receiving end of the fallout from the pandemic.
  • They took a major share of the responsibility of caring for the family, earned less and held less secure jobs.
  • According to the report, this increase in poverty will mostly be concentrated in the sub-Saharan African region, where 59 per cent of the world’s poorest women reside.
  • South Asia, however, will experience a resurgence of poverty after making increasing gains, the report pointed out.
  • The gender gap will widen in the region: For every 100 men between ages 25 and 34 years living in poverty, there will be 129 women, an increase from 118 projected for 2021.
  • The pandemic will push 96 million into poverty, but 47 million of these will be women, said the report.

Source: Down to Earth (September 3)

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Fighting COVID-19 And Food Insecurity

  • COVID-19 is leading to a slowdown of regional economic growth and further threatening food security.
  • Southern Asia is particularly vulnerable, with the number of chronically-underfed people projected to rise by almost a third to 330 million by 2030.
  • It is also the region where more than half the children from the poorest fifth of society are stunted.
  • We are facing two pandemics.
  • First one is COVID-19, and the second one is economic insecurity caused by it.
  • We need to find ways to increase resilience across our food systems by identifying new marketing channels (like e-commerce), increasing efficiency to reduce losses, and improving the quality of products available and storage facilities, which are critical to flows of healthy foods and income to those who produce them.

Source: Fighting COVID-19 and food insecurity requires new ideas, robust political will (Indian Express, September 2, 2020)

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Ranking Of Educational Institutions

  • The obsession to be within the top 100 universities in the world is exasperating.
  • This obsession can create elitism among universities.
  • Lower-ranked universities lose out on many counts.
  • Some top-ranked universities want to collaborate only with other top-ranked universities, impairing the less fortunate ones to further sink due to inescapable stigmatisation.
  • International ranking organisations also force universities to alter their core missions.
  • This has happened with JNU. Although JNU ranks between 100 and 200 in certain disciplines, it does not find a place in world university rankings.
  • The reason is JNU does not offer many undergraduate programmes.
  • Indian institutions lose out on perception, which carries almost 50 per cent weightage in many world university ranking schemes.
  • Perception as a major component in the ranking process can easily lead to inaccurate or unreasonable conclusions.
  • International ranking organisations are too rigid in their methodology and are not willing to add either additional parameters or change the weightage of current parameters.
  • International ranking organisations often ignore what it takes to build a world-class educational system as compared to a world-class university.
  • Instead of being obsessed with global ranking, indan institutions should try to play a positive role in improving the quality of higher education.
  • It should also adopt innovative approaches to become future ready.

Source: Why global university rankings miss Indian educational institutions (Indian Express, August 28)

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