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7th September 2023

Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council


The Supreme Court invalidated Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) election process from a notification recently, ordering a fresh notification within seven days.

About Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council:

  • LAHDC, Leh is an autonomous district council that administers the Leh district of Ladakh.
  • The council was created under the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act of 1995.
  • LAHDC-Leh has a total of 30 seats and four councillors are nominated by the government.
  • The executive arm of the council consists of an executive committee composed of a Chief Executive Councillor and four other executive councillors.
  • The autonomous hill council work with village panchayats to take decisions on economic development, healthcare, education, land use, taxation, and local governance which are further reviewed at the block headquarters in the presence of the chief executive councillor and executive councilors.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Sixth Schedule: The Sixth Schedule under Article 244 provides for the formation of autonomous administrative divisions — Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) — that have some legislative, judicial, and administrative autonomy within a state.
    • The Sixth Schedule contains special provisions for the administration of tribal areas in the four north-eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
    • Autonomous Districts: The tribal areas in these four states have been constituted as autonomous districts.
    • The governor is empowered to organise and re-organise the autonomous districts.
    • The acts of Parliament or the state legislature do not apply to autonomous districts or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.
    • The power of direction, in this regard, lies either with the President or Governor.
  • District Council: Each autonomous district has a district council consisting of 30 members, of whom four are nominated by the Governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult franchise.
    • The elected members hold office for a term of five years (unless the council is dissolved earlier) and nominated members hold office during the pleasure of the governor.
    • Each autonomous region also has a separate regional council.

Powers of the Council

  • The district and regional councils administer the areas under their jurisdiction.
  • They can make laws on certain specified matters like land, forests, canal water, shifting cultivation, village administration, and the inheritance of property, marriage and divorce, social customs and so on. But all such laws require the assent of the Governor.
  • They can constitute village councils or courts for trial of suits and cases between the tribes. They hear appeals from them. The jurisdiction of the high court over these suits and cases is specified by the governor.
  • The district council can establish, construct or manage primary schools, dispensaries, markets, ferries, fisheries, roads and so on in the district.
  • They are empowered to assess and collect land revenue and to impose certain specified taxes.

Unemployment measurement varies for economies


Comparing unemployment rates between the U.S. and India is challenging due to economic disparities and distinct labor force characteristics, including a substantial informal sector in India and varying measurement methodologies.

Perspectives of defining Unemployment

  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines unemployment as being out of a job; being available to take a job; and actively engaged in searching for work.
  • Therefore, an individual who has lost work but does not look for another job is not unemployed.
  • The labour force is defined as the sum of the employed and the unemployed.
  • Those neither employed nor unemployed — such as students and those engaged in unpaid domestic work — are considered out of the labour force.
  • The unemployment rate is measured as the ratio of the unemployed to the labour force.
  • The unemployment rate could also fall if an economy is not generating enough jobs, or if people decide not to search for work.

The Unemployment paradox:

In the U.S., the employment-to-population ratio (EPR) in 2019 was 60.8, while the unemployment rate was 3.7%.  Even though there were fewer jobs (as a proportion of the total population), the unemployment rate was lower because many individuals had exited the labour force.

Measuring unemployment in India

  • The NSSO (National Sample Survey Office) in India employs two primary measures to classify an individual's working status:
  • The Usual Principal and Subsidiary Status (UPSS): It categorizes an individual's principal working status based on the activity they spent a significant amount of time on in the previous year.
  • Even if someone is not considered a primary worker, they are counted as employed under UPSS if they engaged in some economic activity for a period of not less than 30 days.
  • This means that a person who was unemployed for a shorter duration but worked for at least 30 days in a subsidiary role during the previous year would be classified as a worker according to UPSS, even if their primary status is unemployed.
  • The Current Weekly Status (CWS): The CWS adopts a shorter reference period of a week.
  • An individual is counted as being employed if they have worked for at least one hour on at least one day during the seven days preceding the date of survey.

UPSS unemployment rates will always be lower than CWS rates because there is a greater probability that an individual would find work over a year as compared to a week.

Unemployment in India

As per the recent Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), 2022;

  • Unemployment Ratio:
    • The unemployment ratio is defined as the percentage of persons unemployedamong the persons in the labour force.
    • The unemployment rate was 6% for men and9.4% for women (9.3% and 11.6% in July-September 2021).
  • Worker-Population Ratio (WPR):
    • The WPR is defined as thepercentage of employed persons in the population.
    • The WPR in urban areas for persons aged 15 and above stood at 5%(42.3% in July-September 2021).
    • The WPR among men was 68.6%and7% among women (66.6% and 17.6% in 2021).
  • Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR):
    • It is defined as thepercentage of persons in the labour force who are working or seeking or available for work in the population, in urban areas for persons aged 15 and above.
    • It increased to 9%(46.9% in July-September 2021).
    • The LFPR among men was 73.4% and7% among women(73.5% and 19.9%, in July-September 2021).

What are the concerns in Unemployment measurement in India?

  • Measuring unemployment in India is difficult due to the informal nature of jobs.
  • Unlike developed economies, individuals do not hold one job year-round.
  • The low threshold for classifying individuals as employed, particularly in rural areas, contributes to the phenomenon of lower reported unemployment rates in rural regions compared to urban areas.
  • These definitions, although they may lead to an underestimation of unemployment, were primarily designed to account for the prevalence of informal and sporadic employment in agrarian economies, where individuals often have access to family farms or casual agrarian work, increasing the likelihood of some level of economic activity even during periods of joblessness.

Way forward

  • Addressing Measurement Lacunae:
  • Broaden Definitions: Consider broader definitions of employment to account for various forms of work, including gig work, part-time, and informal employment.
  • Quality of Employment: Include measures of job quality, such as income levels, working conditions, and job security, alongside traditional unemployment rates.
  • Use Technology: Leverage technology and data analytics to enhance the accuracy and speed of employment data collection and analysis.
  • Standardize Definitions: Work towards standardizing employment definitions and methodologies across different surveys and agencies for consistency and comparability.

Suggestive measures:

  • Skill Development and Education: Invest in skill development programs and education to equip the workforce with the skills required for emerging industries and technologies.
  • Promote Entrepreneurship: Encourage entrepreneurship by providing incentives, access to credit, and a conducive regulatory environment to foster job creation.
  • Labor Market Reforms: Implement labor market reforms to strike a balance between worker rights and flexibility for employers, making it easier for businesses to hire.
  • Invest in Infrastructure: Develop infrastructure projects that create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and improve overall productivity.
  • Encourage Manufacturing: Promote the manufacturing sector to generate employment opportunities, as it has the potential to create a significant number of jobs.
  • Support Informal Sector: Recognize the importance of the informal sector and implement policies that provide social security and skill development opportunities for informal workers.

Viability gap funding to promote battery energy storage system


Recently, the Union Cabinet approved Rs.3, 760 crore in viability gap funding for establishing a battery energy storage system in India.

About the initiative:
  • The entire amount for viability gap funding will be borne by the central government.
  • The fund will be released in five tranches till 2030-31 and help in creation of 4,000 MW hours storage.
  • The viability gap funding will lead to an investment of Rs.9, 500 crore.
  • Objective: India aims to meet its 50 per cent of energy requirements through renewable energy and non-fossil energy sources.

What is Viability Gap Funding?

  • The Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Scheme aims at supporting infrastructure projects that are economically justified but fall marginally short of financial viability.
  • Support under this scheme is available only for infrastructure projects where private sector sponsors are selected through a process of competitive bidding.
  • The total VGF under the scheme does not exceed 20% of the total project cost; however, the Government may decide to provide additional grants up to a limit of a further 20%.

What is the process of getting VGF?

The process for availing viability gap funding (VGF) involves:

  • Submission of project proposals that include requisite information by the Government/ statutory entity owning the underlying asset Projects based-on model documents would be preferred over standalone documents Empowered Institution (EI) may seek required details for satisfying eligibility criteria.
  • The EI shall inform the sponsoring Government/ statutory entity whether the project is eligible for financial assistance within 30 to 60 days.
  • The EI may refer the case to Empowered Committee (EC) for further clarity on eligibility Projects shall be approved and implemented in accordance with the procedures specified from time to time.
  • The inter-se allocation of VGF between an ongoing scheme and this scheme shall be determined by the

Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) Project

  • This is the joint effort of both the Ministry of New and Renewable energy and the Ministry of Power who have been working on this to provide a road map for the installation of the energy storage system in the country.
  • Objective:
    • In order to support the ambitious goal of achieving 450 GW renewable energy target of the Ministry of New and renewable energy by 2030, it is important that it gets duly supported with installation of energy storage systems (battery energy storage system, hydro pump storage plants etc.).
  • Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) is a technology developed for storing electric charge by using specially developed batteries.
  • The underlying idea being that such stored energy can be utilized at a later time.
  • Enormous amount of research has led to battery advances that have shaped the concept of Battery Energy Storage System into a commercial reality.
  • Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESSs) are a sub-set of Energy Storage Systems (ESSs).
  • Energy Storage System is a general term for the ability of a system to store energy using thermal, electro-mechanical or electro-chemical solutions.
  • A BESS typically utilizes an electro-chemical solution.
  • Essentially, all Energy Storage Systems capture energy and store it for use at a later time or date.
  • Examples of these systems include pumped hydro, compressed air storage, mechanical flywheels, and now BESSs.
  • These systems complement intermittent sources of energy such as wind, tidal and solar power in an attempt to balance energy production and consumption.

Why battery storage system is beneficial?

  • Decreasing Cost: A major factor in the rapid increase in the use of BESS technology has been a 50% decrease in costs of energy storage over the last two years.
  • Security of supply: Storage technologies are also popular because they improve energy security by optimizing energy supply and demand, reducing the need to import electricity via inter-connectors, and also reducing the need to continuously adjust generation unit output.
  • Financial Incentive: Many governments and utility regulators are actively encouraging the development of battery storage systems with financial incentives, which is likely to lead to further growth.

Concerns associated:

  • Risk involved in using BESS: While the use of batteries is nothing new, what is new is the size, complexity, energy density of the systems and the Li-ion battery chemistry involved — which can lead to significant fire risks.
  • Difficulty of fighting battery fires: Battery fires are often very intense and difficult to control. They can take days or even weeks to extinguish properly, and may seem fully extinguished when they are not.
  • Failure of control systems: Another issue can be failure of protection and control systems. For example, a Battery Management System (BMS) failure can lead to overcharging and an inability to monitor the operating environment, such as temperature or cell voltage.

Green growth


According to a study, Emission reductions highly insufficient for 11 high income countries including Canada and Australia; calling there ‘green growth’ is misleading and greenwashing.


Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or misleading information about how a company’s products are environmentally sound.

What is ‘Green Growth’?

  • Green growth means fostering economic growth and development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies.

Green Growth vs. Sustainable Growth:

  • Green growth is not a replacement for sustainable development. Rather, it provides a practical and flexible approach for achieving concrete, measurable progress across its economic and environmental
  • The focus of green growth strategies is ensuring that natural assets can deliver their full economic potential on a sustainable basis.
  • That potential includes the provision of critical life support services – clean air and water, and the resilient biodiversity needed to support food production and human health.
  • Natural assets are not infinitely substitutable and green growth policies take account of that.

Key findings of the study

  • The study analyses 11 developed and high income countries namely, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
  • The analysis suggested that none of the 11 high-income countries that have “decoupled” emissions from growth have achieved emission reductions that are consistent with the Paris Agreement goals.
  • The researchers first identified 11 counties that achieved “absolute decoupling”, which means those that decreased their CO2 emissions alongside increasing GDP between 2013 and 2019.
  • To do this, they collected GDP data from the World Bank and CO2 emissions data from the Global Carbon Project.

The Paris Agreement is a treaty signed by 196 countries to limit “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and pursue efforts “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

  • Scientists have warned that green growth can only occur if decoupling is fast enough to reduce emissions consistent with the Paris Agreement.
  • Decoupling, according to the study, is a decrease in CO2 emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP).

What do decoupling means?

  • The term decoupling refers to breaking the link between “environmental bads” and “economic goods.”
  • Decoupling occurs when the growth rate of an environmental pressure is less than that of its economic driving force (e.g. GDP) over a given period.
  • Decoupling can be either absolute or relative.

Decoupling environmental pressures from economic growth is one of the main objectives of the OECD Environmental Strategy for the First Decade of the 21st Century, adopted by OECD Environment Ministers in 2001.

  • Indicators of decoupling are;
    • The factors include the country size, population density, natural resource endowments, energy profile, (changes in) economic structure and stage of economic development.
  • Significance: When decoupling indicators are used to compare environmental performance among countries, the national circumstances of each country must also be taken into account.

Green Growth and India’s stand

  • The vision for “LiFE or Lifestyle for Environment,” set forward by the India’s aims to inspire a trend towards living sustainably.
  • To lead the world into a green industrial and economic transition, India is vigorously pursuing the “Panchamrit” and net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
  • Additionally, India is putting into practice numerous policies and programmes for the effective use of energy across various economic sectors, including green buildings, green equipment, green farming, green mobility, and green fuels.
  • Large-scale green job opportunities are facilitated by these green growth initiatives, which also contribute in diminishing the economy’s carbon intensity.

Government Interventions:

  • National Green Hydrogen Mission: It will support the transition of the economy to low carbon intensity, lessen reliance on fossil fuel imports, and enable the nation to assume technological and market leadership in this emerging industry.
  • GOBARdhan Scheme: 500 new “waste to wealth” plants (200 compressed biogas (CBG) plants and 300 community/cluster-based plants) were built as part of the GOBARdhan Scheme to support the circular economy. 10,000 crores were invested in total.
  • Bhartiya Prakritik Kheti Bio-Input Resource Centers: Over the course of the next three years, the Center will help 1 crore farmer’s transition to natural farming by establishing 10,000 Bio-Input Resource Centers, establishing a distributed national network for the production of micro-fertilizers and pesticides.
  • MISHTI: The MISHTI (Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes), which will be run by combining resources from MGNREGS, Campa Fund, and other sources, will revolutionize mangrove protection.
    • MISHTI will help with mangrove planting on saltpan areas and along India’s coastline.
  • PM PRANAM: Prime Minister Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment, and Amelioration of Mother Earth, through this program, states and union territories will be encouraged to promote the balanced use of chemical fertilizers as well as alternative fertilizers.
  • Amrit Dharohar: Union Budget for 2023–24 announced the Amrit Dharohar programme, a central government initiative to protect wetlands.
    • Over the following three years, Amrit Dharohar will be put into practice to promote the best possible use of wetlands, and improve biodiversity, carbon stocks, ecotourism prospects, and revenue production for nearby communities

Short News Article

Polity and Governance (GS-II)

Sandes app

Delhi Police has chosen ‘Sandes’ app, an Indian instant messaging service, even for communication security breaches for the upcoming G20 Summit.

About the app:

  • The mobile application, developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), was launched in August 2020.
  • The app, an upgrade to the Government Instant Messaging System (GIMS), has undergone major updates making the platform more secure. GIMS was created for government officials only to provide them messaging software similar to WhatsApp.
  • However, the Sandes app provides versions for Android, iOS, and desktop for both individuals and government employees.
  • The app enables safe information transmission.
  • Users can only access the documents they share on the app as they do so over a secure internet protocol.
  • A message can be marked as Confidential, on Priority, or Auto Delete, according to the Sandes platform’s official website.

Economy (GS-III)

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) is planning to unveil a host of new measures, including 100 per cent cashless claim settlement in health cover, long-term products, flexible insurance plans for old people.

About IRDAI:

  • IRDAI, founded in 1999, is a regulatory body created with the aim of protecting the interests of insurance customers.
  • It is a statutory body under the IRDA Act 1999 and is under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Finance.
  • It regulates and sees to the development of the insurance industry while monitoring insurance-related activities.
  • The powers and functions of the Authority are laid down in the IRDAI Act, 1999 and Insurance Act, 1938.

Environment (GS-III)

Schizostachyum andamanicum

The patent office of Government of India has granted a patent to Botanical Survey of India for ‘reusable straw and its manufacturing’.

  • The reusable straw is developed from a species of endemic bamboo plant which is found in the Andamans and Nicobar Islands

About the bamboo species:

  • The bamboo species Schizostachyum andamanicum was discovered on the island about three decades ago and now its economic potential has received a boost with the patent for reusable straw and its manufacturing.
  • Schizostachyum andamanicum is a tropical grass that is native to India, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.
  • It has a tufted habit and grows to a height of 0.3-1.2 m.
  • It is found in open grasslands, scrub and dry deciduous forests.


  • Schizostachyum andamanicum is used as an ornamental grass in landscaping, and its seeds are used as bird feed. It is also used as a fodder grass for livestock and as a soil stabilizer.


  • The germplasm of the bamboo species is only found in some forested areas of Andamans and large-scale production of the straw will be dependent on commercial cultivation of the species.

Science and Technology (GS-III)

Scrub typhus

Scrub typhus has been detected in as many as 732 people, and five deaths from the illness have been recorded in Himachal Pradesh so far this year.


  • Scrub typhus is a form of bush typhus brought on by the bacteria Orientia tsutsugamush.
  • It is a rickettsial illness. It is transmitted to people via the bites of infected chiggers (larval mites).
  • It is a systemic illness and can present as a vasculitis-like infection.
  • Chiggers, sometimes known as larval mites, are microscopic mites that can be found in rural and forested areas of Asia, the Pacific Islands, and some regions of Australia.
  • It can be caused by fleas, mites, lice, and other pest bites.
  • The typhus bacteria are spread by anthropods.
  • Scratching the bite site makes the skin more susceptible to infection.

Concept in News


Mexico has recently considered, passing a law to make ecocide a crime.


  • Ecocide refers to the severe and widespread harm or destruction of the environment, often due to human activities.
  • Ecocide or ‘killing one’s home’ or ‘environment’ refers to acts like port expansion projects, deforestation, illegal sand mining, polluting rivers and releasing untreated sewage, etc., that destroy fragile natural ecosystems and local livelihoods.
  • Ecocide is not yet recognized as an international crime but is gaining traction as a concept.
  • It involves acts that result in the extensive damage or destruction of ecosystems, biodiversity, or the natural environment.


Time is ripe to lift AFSPA from Assam and Arunachal Pradesh


Previously, many people vehemently opposed the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) due to coercion by insurgent groups in the North East. These groups manipulated locals to demand its repeal. Now, those once protesting AFSPA now call for its return.

The Changing Perspective on AFSPA

  • About AFSPA: Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) is a Parliamentary act that grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces and the state and paramilitary forces in areas classified as “disturbed areas”.
  • Trigger Incident: The accidental killing of innocent civilians in Nagaland's incident led to high-level recommendations to withdraw AFSPA from certain North East areas, where insurgency had reduced significantly.
  • Reduced Need: As insurgency waned in Assam and other areas, the government sought to withdraw AFSPA where law and order could be maintained by state police or paramilitary forces, allowing the army to focus on border security.

The Evolving Situation in Manipur

  • Complex Manipur Scenario: In Manipur, despite historical protests for AFSPA repeal, renewed demands have arisen due to the Manipur police's inability to control escalating violence.
  • Army's Non-partisan Role: The Indian Army's impartiality and willingness to assist in disasters have won the confidence of Manipuri people, even as its absence is felt in times of trouble.
  • To control situation: The Central government's decision to appoint Col (Retd) Nectar Sanjebam, a hero of the 2015 surgical strike, as Senior Superintendent of Police (Combat) in Manipur Police is seen as a positive move to bridge the gap between the army and Manipur Police.

Way Forward and Potential Implications

  • Potential AFSPA Removal: While AFSPA may be removed from some districts in Assam due to improved law and order, Manipur's unique situation necessitates a different approach.
  • Indian Army's Role: The Indian Army's vital role in safeguarding the nation's unity and integrity, disaster relief, and counterterrorism efforts is highlighted.
  • Hope for Improved Relations: The appointment of Col (Retd) Nectar Sanjebam offers hope for better cooperation between the Indian Army, Assam Rifles, and Manipur Police.
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Set social security ball rolling for informal and gig workers


The e-Shram portal has registered over 280 million unorganized laborers, but there's no comprehensive social security policy at the central or state level.

The Plight of Gig and Platform Workers

  • Informal Workforce: India's workforce is divided into formal (9%) and informal (91%) categories. The latter lacks social security benefits, including gig and platform workers.
  • Gig Workers' Definition: Gig workers are freelancers paid for services, often with no traditional employer-employee relationship. Platform-based gig workers use apps to connect with clients.
  • Challenges of Gig Workers: Many gig workers work long hours without social security benefits, face job insecurity, and have no access to a redressal mechanism for work-related issues.

The Current Situation

  • Government Efforts: Rajasthan has enacted a law for the welfare of platform-based gig workers, but it excludes most informal workers.
  • Concerns of Gig-Platform Workers: Gig-platform workers lack defined benefits, medical care, protection from hire-and-fire policies, and redressal mechanisms. They often work long hours, leading to personal asset wear and income loss during emergencies.
  • Suggested Measures: Enrolling gig-platform workers with unique identity numbers (UINs), linking UINs with employers through AI, collecting a cess from service charges, and creating a social insurance fund are proposed to address these concerns.

Need for Comprehensive Social Security

  • Informal Workforce Challenges: 91% of India's workforce lacks core social insurance, including old-age pensions and maternity benefits. Fragmentary solutions, like state-level welfare boards, have not provided core social insurance.
  • Proposed Solutions: Suggestions include enrolling gig-platform workers with Uniform Identification Numbers (UIN), collecting a cess from service charges, and creating a social insurance fund.
  • Sustainable Development Goals: To address informality and fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals, India needs a comprehensive social security approach. There's a proposed roadmap to achieve this goal in a decade.
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Kota suicides: Our children on the brink


Alarming rates of youth suicides expose the negligence towards country’s children and their emotional needs.

Rising Teen Suicides in Kota

  • Alarming Situation: Recent teen suicides in Kota, Rajasthan, known for its intense competition among students preparing for entrance exams, have brought attention to the mental health crisis amongst youth.
  • Magnitude of the Issue: India faces a significant issue of youth suicides, with statistics showing it as the leading cause of death among 15 to 30-year-olds In 2020, an alarming 34 students committed suicide daily, with 11,396 child suicides recorded.
  • Neglected Concern: Despite the severity of the problem, student and youth suicides often go unnoticed, overshadowed by other news stories. This neglect highlights the failure to address emotional needs and vulnerabilities in society.

Root Causes and Kota's Coaching Industry

  • Common Themes in Kota: Many of the students in Kota hail from UP and Bihar, coming from lower-middle-class backgrounds, lured by promises of success and hopes to uplift their families.
  • Exploitative Coaching Industry: The Kota coaching industry, valued at Rs.12, 000 crore, prioritizes financial gains and results over student welfare. Students face grueling schedules, excessive competition, and a lack of support systems.
  • Lack of Compassion: There is a lack of safe spaces, compassionate faculty, and individualized support for struggling students. The pressure, guilt, and helplessness they experience often lead to tragic outcomes.

Need for Comprehensive Solutions

  • Pandemic's Impact on Mental Health: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues across communities, bringing attention to the neglected field of mental health in India.
  • Increased Budget Allocation: The National Mental Health Programme's budget has increased to Rs.134 crore for 2023-24 from a mere Rs.40 crore before the pandemic.
  • Long-Term Engagement Needed: Addressing the crisis requires a comprehensive, ongoing effort involving parents, educators, policymakers, and mental health professionals.
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Bridging the malnutrition gap, the Bemetara way


Nutrition counselling is a simple but powerful strategy as the experience in the Bemetara district in Chhattisgarh showcased recently.

Recognizing Nutrition Counselling

  • Simple Solutions, Significant Impact: Simplicity often leads to sophistication, and in addressing malnutrition, counselling people on proper eating and feeding practices can be highly effective.
  • Government Efforts: The government has made strides in food security, offering mid-day meals in schools and public distribution of rations. Various state-specific schemes distribute nutritional supplements.
  • Need for Nutrition Counselling: While awareness campaigns exist under schemes like POSHAN Abhiyaan, nutrition counselling has not been systematically implemented. Proper training and uniform adoption of nutrition counselling are essential for addressing this gap.

The Bemetara Model

  • Malnutrition Paradox: Bemetara, a relatively affluent district in Chhattisgarh, faces severe acute malnutrition despite its agricultural prosperity. This highlights the significance of proper knowledge about feeding practices.
  • Potth Laika Abhiyaan: A nutrition counselling program called "Potth Laika Abhiyaan" has been implemented in 72 severely affected Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) in Bemetara. Ground-level staff trained in nutrition counselling educates parents on balanced diets, hygiene, and dispel dietary myths.
  • Positive Outcomes: In nine months, this program led to a 53.77% improvement in malnutrition among targeted children. Monitoring and evaluation played a crucial role, making this a cost-effective solution.

Scaling Up Nutrition Counselling Nationwide

  • Replication of Success: The Potth Laika Abhiyaan model, combining nutrition counselling with monitoring, should be replicated across districts and states. It's a cost-effective approach with significant positive outcomes.
  • Need for Comprehensive Strategy: Providing food to the underprivileged must be complemented by nutrition counselling and monitoring to effectively combat malnutrition.
  • Achieving "Kuposhan Mukt Bharat": Implementing nutrition counselling as part of a holistic strategy can help India move closer to its goal of a "Kuposhan Mukt Bharat" (Malnutrition-Free India).
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