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21st January – Editorials/Opinions Analyses


  1. Redesigning India’s Ailing Data System
  2. Deciphering the moves on Russia’s Power Chessboard
  3. Guaranteeing healthcare, the Brazilian way
  4. Mudflats: The world’s great coastal protectors
  5. Tragic trek: on unauthorised expeditions


Why in news?

National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) was brought under the fold of National Statistics Office, altering its longstanding arrangement under the Governing Council and then National Statistical Commission

More about national accounting.

The System of National Accounting (SNA) is designed to measure production, consumption, and accumulation of income and wealth for assessing the performance of the economy

Importance of GDP.

GDP data influence markets, signalling investment sentiments, flow of funds and balance of payments.

The input­output relations impact productivity and allocation of resources; demand and supply influences prices, exchange rates, wage rates, employment and standard of living, affecting all walks of life

Importance of data

Along with GDP, we need data to assess competitiveness, inclusive growth, fourth-generation Industrial Revolution riding on the Internet of things, biotechnology, robotics-influencing employment and productivity, environmental protection, sustainable development and social welfare


Why in news?

  • Vladimir Putin’s presidential term ends later this year.
  • He has announced major changes in governing policies which guide the future of Russia.
  • According to Russian constitution, presidential term is limited to 2 consecutive times.
  • Clearly, Mr. Putin continues to hold full control.
  • But he is also making his legacy as a builder of constitutional institutions; by giving the Duma more powers, Mr. Putin signifies that he is moving to empower this body.
  • Also addressed the major internal security threat: the severe and continuous demographic decline (almost one million less every year).
  • To address demographic decline but also the stagnating Russian economy, Mr. Putin announced measures that include:
    • All low income families with children under age seven will receive monthly cash handouts.
    • All children till grade four in all Russian schools will get free lunch.
    • All mothers after the birth of their first or second child will receive benefits and payments.
  • Also focused on public spending and infrastructure projects to address poverty, decrease social tensions, reduce income gaps, improve health.
  • This will add up to 450 billion rubles ($7.5 billion) per year in terms of public spending in Russia’s yearly budget


What is special in Brazil?

Brazil, the only country where more than 100 million inhabitants have a universal health system

What can India replicate?

  • .It can also provide lessons for Ayushman Bharat, currently the world’s largest and most ambitious government health programme.
  • Achieving universal coverage in India, a country with a population of 1.3 billion, is a challenge of  epic proportions. Hence, the advances in this field should be seen not in binaries but judged by its steady growth and improvement.

Achievements in Brazil

  • Life expectancy has increased from 64 years to almost 76 years, while Infant Mortality Rate has declined from 53 to 14 per 1,000 live births. In terms of service provision, polio vaccination has reached 98% of the population
  • This has been made possible even amidst a scenario of tightening budget allocation.
  • While universal health systems tend to consume around 8% of the GDP — the NHS, for instance, takes up 7.9% of Britain’s GDP — Brazil spends only 3.8% of its GDP on the SUS, serving a population three times larger than that of the U.K.
  • The cost of the universal health system in Brazil averages around $600 per person, while in the U.K., this number reaches $3,428.



The rising levels of our global seas pose serious threats to low-lying coastal communities. Can nature help?


  • Although mudflats don’t necessarily have the draw of golden sands and coastal cliffs, but in an era of rising sea levels, theses sprawling areas of inter tidal zones offer unsung protection to shoreline communities all over the world.
  • Across the Wadden Sea(around Germany) — the world’s largest tidal flat system and a UNESCO World Heritage site — from Hooge is the emerald green island of Pellworm.
  • A remnant from a much larger area of coastal land that was swallowed during a savage storm surge hundreds of years ago, Pellworm is now completely surrounded by giant protective dikes.
  • The entire tidal flat system here is at risk of drowning beneath the water that currently exposes its ever-changing shapes and sands twice daily
  • In some low-lying areas around the world, conservationists are trying to find ways to work with the sea to meet the challenges of the assent of sea level
  • Rather than just relying on dikes and walls, they are making a case for returning sections of land to the sea through what is known as managed retreat, or managed realignment.


Why in news?

Trekking clubs have exploited ignorance of regulations to lead adventurers to their deaths


  • Venturing into forests for a trek without certified guides is akin to walking into a death trap with one’s eyes closed
  • A 40-year-old woman went trekking in a reserve forest in Coimbatore, with her husband and friends, was trampled by an elephant
  • In 2018, 23 people, most of them youngsters, perished in a forest fire while on an unauthorised expedition in south Tamil Nadu’s Kurangani hills
  • Numerous instances of lost trekkers being eventually rescued by forest personnel or locals

Causes for such daredevilry

  • Ignorance of laws governing forest entry
  • Private adventure clubs, most of them online entities, continue to entice youngsters by promising an adventurous experience in the wild

Way forward

  • Promote eco-tourism by conducting organised treks along safe designated routes and escorted by persons familiar with the terrain
  • Need to publicise trekking rules and also the availability of State-run eco-tourism projects so that nature and adventure enthusiasts are not misled by touts
  • Using technology, the Forest Department must strengthen its surveillance mechanism to prevent the illegal entry of trekkers
  • Atulya Misra Committee, which probed the Kurangani fire tragedy, recommended, the government must fund acquisition of more unmanned, high-technology aerial vehicles, which would aid the Forest Department that is short on manpower.
February 2024