Contents

  1. Religious composition of India: Pew Research Study
  2. Global Innovation Index 2021
  3. FSSAI’s 3rd State Food Safety Index
  4. World Rhino Day: 22 September

Religious composition of India: Pew Research Study

Context:

According to a new study published by the Pew Research Center, a non-profit based in Washington DC India’s religious mix has been stable since 1951 and both Hindus and Muslims not only a marked decline but also a convergence in fertility rates.

Relevance:

GS-I: Indian Society (Demography, Social Issues, and Developments in Indian Society), GS-II: Polity and Governance (Constitutional Provisions, Fundamental Rights)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Religious Diversity in India
  2. Highlights of the Pew research on religious composition of India
  3. Fundamental Right to Freedom of Religion in India
  4. Secularism in India

Religious Diversity in India

  • India is one of the most diverse nations in terms of religion, it being the birthplace of four major world religions: Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.
  • Even though Hindus form close to 80 percent of the population, India also has region-specific religious practices: for instance, Jammu and Kashmir has a Muslim majority, Punjab has a Sikh majority, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram have Christian majorities and the Indian Himalayan States such as Sikkim and Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh and the state of Maharashtra and the Darjeeling District of West Bengal have large concentrations of Buddhist population.
  • The country has significant Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Jain and Zoroastrian populations.
  • Islam is the largest minority religion in India, and the Indian Muslims form the third largest Muslim population in the world, accounting for over 14 percent of the nation’s population.

Highlights of the Pew research on religious composition of India

Overall Population increase

  • India’s overall population more than tripled between 1951 and 2011, though growth rates have slowed since the 1990s.
  • The total number of Indians grew to 1.2 billion in the 2011 census from 361 million in the 1951 census.
  • India’s overall population growth has slowed considerably, especially since the 1990s.
  • After adding the equivalent of nearly a quarter of its population every decade in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the country’s growth rate dropped to 22% in the 1990s and to 18% in the most recent census decade.

Composition of Religions

  • Hindus make up 79.8% of India’s population and Muslims account for 14.2%; Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains account for most of the remaining 6%.
  • Between 1951 and 2011, the share of Muslims in India grew modestly, by about 4 percentage points, while the share of Hindus declined by about 4 points.
  • Growth among Hindus slowed from a high of around 24% to about 17% in the 2000s, while Muslim growth slowed to around 25% and the rate among Christians dropped to 16%.
  • The shares of Indians in other religions held relatively steady. Muslims are growing somewhat faster than other groups because they tend to have more children.

Drop in Fertility Rates

  • In 1992, the average Muslim woman had at least one more child than the average Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Sikh or Jain.
  • Muslims in India have higher fertility rates than other groups, but they also have experienced the sharpest decline in fertility in recent decades.
  • By 2015, fertility rates across all groups had fallen, with Muslims experiencing the most significant decline, from an average of 4.4 children per woman in 1992 to an average of 2.6 in 2015. Hindu women had an average of 3.3 children in 1992, a figure that fell to 2.1 by 2015. As a result of these shifts, the fertility gap between Muslim and Hindu women in India shrank from 1.1 to 0.5 children.

Factors of Fertility Rates

  • Each additional year of education correlates with a significant drop in fertility, according to a multilevel analysis by Pew Research Center that accounts for education, wealth, age and place of residence – all factors known to be associated with fertility.

No Evidences of forced conversions

  • In a recent survey of nearly 30,000 Indian adults, very few said they had switched religions since childhood. Religious switching, or conversion, appears to be rare in India.
  • In fact, 99% of adults who were raised Hindu are still Hindu. Among those raised as Muslims, 97% are still Muslim as adults, and 94% of people raised Christian still identify as Christians.
  • Furthermore, people who do switch religions tend to cancel each other out.

Hindus are the majority

  • India is home to about 94% of the world’s Hindus. Along with Nepal, it is one of only two Hindu-majority countries.
  • Hindus are the majority in 28 of India’s 35 states, including the most populous ones: Uttar Pradesh (total population 200 million), Maharashtra (112 million) and Bihar (104 million).
  • Muslims are a majority in the small western archipelago of Lakshadweep (<100,000) and in Jammu and Kashmir (13 million), on the border with Pakistan.
  • But only 5% of Muslims live in these two places; 95% live in states where they are a religious minority.

Effect of Migration

  • Migration has not greatly affected India’s religious composition.
  • According to some news reports, there are many millions of people from Muslim-majority countries living in India without legal status or documentation.
  • But such high estimates have been put forth without supporting evidence and appear to be implausible based on a lack of corresponding outflows from origin countries and other indicators.

Christian women are in school longer

  • Christians had an average of seven years of schooling, according to 2015 data, compared with 4.2 years among Hindus and 3.2 years among Muslims.

Fundamental Right to Freedom of Religion in India

Freedom of religion in India is a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 25-28 of the Constitution of India.

Article 25: Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion

  • Article 25 is the bedrock of secularism in India and it states that people have the freedom to
    1. Conscience (inner freedom of thought),
    2. Profess (declare one’s religious beliefs openly),
    3. Practice (perform religious worship), and
    4. Propagate (dissemination of one’s religious beliefs) their religion.
  • The Right to Propagate religion does NOT include the right to convert another person to a particular religion.
  • Thus, Article 25 covers not only religious beliefs (doctrines) but also religious practices (rituals).
  • However, the rights guaranteed under Article 25 are subject to reasonable restrictions to maintain public order, morality and health.
  • Religious rights under Article 25 are available to both citizens and non-citizens.

Article 26: Freedom to manage religious affairs

  • Article 25 gives freedom to an individual, while Article 26 deals with an entire religious denomination or any of its section.
  • Under Article 26, every religious denomination or any section thereof shall have the right to:
    1. establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes;
    2. manage its own affairs in matters of religion;
    3. own and acquire movable and immovable property; and
    4. administer such property in accordance with law
  • The rights guaranteed under Article 26 are also subject to reasonable restrictions to maintain public order, morality and health.

Article 27: Freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion

  • Article 27 prohibits the State from spending any public money collected by way of tax for the promotion of any religion.
  • In other words, the state should not spend the public money collected by way of tax for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion.
  • This provision prohibits the state from favouring, patronizing and supporting one religion over the other.
  • This also means that taxes can be used for the promotion or maintenance of all religions.
  • Article 27 prohibits only the levying of a tax and not a fee. This is because the purpose of a fee is to control secular administration of religious institutions and not to promote or maintain a religion. Thus, a fee can be levied on pilgrims to provide them with some special service or safety measures.

Article 28: Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions

  • Article 28 prohibits religious instruction (religious teachings) from being provided in educational institutions that are Wholly Maintained by State funds.
  • Article 28 distinguishes between 4 types of religious institutions and has different restrictions on providing religious instructions for different types:
 Type of Educational InstitutionStatus of Religious Instruction
1.Wholly Maintained by StateCompletely Prohibited
2.Administered by the State, but established under some trust or endowmentPermitted – no conditions
3.Just Recognized by StatePermitted – but only with consent (or Guardian’s consent in case of a minor)
4.Just Receiving Aid from StatePermitted – but only with consent (or Guardian’s consent in case of a minor)

Secularism in India

  • Secularism is a principle that advocates separation of religion from civic affairs and the state.
  • The term means that all the religions in India get equal respect protection and support from the state.
INDIAN SECULARISMWESTERN SECULARISM
Equal protection by the state to all religions. It reflects certain meanings. First secular state to be one that protects all religions, but does not favour one at the cost of others and does not adopt any religion as the state religion.Separation of state and religion as mutual exclusion means both are mutually exclusive in their own spheres of operation.
In the Indian context, secularism has been interpreted as the state maintaining an “arm’s length distance” from ALL religions.Western secularism can be seen as the state refusing to interact with any form of religious affairs.

-Source: The Hindu


Global Innovation Index 2021

Context:

India has climbed two spots and has been ranked 46th in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2021 rankings.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth and Development of Indian Economy, Issues related to Development, Important International Organizations and their reports)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Global Innovation Index (GII)?
  2. About World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  3. Highlights of the Global Innovation Index 2021

What is Global Innovation Index (GII)?

  • The Global Innovation Index (GII) is an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for, and success in, innovation. It is published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, in partnership with other organisations and institutions, and is based on both subjective and objective data derived from several sources, including the International Telecommunication Union, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.
  • The GII aims to capture the multi-dimensional facets of innovation ranking and rich analysis referencing around 132 economies.
  • The GII is commonly used by corporate and government officials to compare countries by their level of innovation.
  • The GII is computed by taking a simple average of the scores in two sub-indices, the Innovation Input Index and Innovation Output Index, which are composed of five and two pillars respectively.
  • Innovation inputs: Institutions; Human capital and research; Infrastructure; Market sophistication; Business sophistication.
  • Innovation outputs: Knowledge and technology outputs; Creative outputs
  • Each of these pillars describe an attribute of innovation, and comprise up to five indicators, and their score is calculated by the weighted average method.

About World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

  • The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of the 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations (UN) – headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • WIPO was created to promote and protect intellectual property (IP) across the world by cooperating with countries as well as international organizations.
  • WIPO’s activities including hosting forums to discuss and shape international IP rules and policies, providing global services that register and protect IP in different countries, resolving transboundary IP disputes, helping connect IP systems through uniform standards and infrastructure, and serving as a general reference database on all IP matters.
  • WIPO also works with governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and individuals to utilize IP for socioeconomic development.

Highlights of the Global Innovation Index 2021

  • Switzerland > Sweden > U.S. > U.K. continue to lead the innovation ranking, and have all ranked in the top 5 in the past three years. The Republic of Korea joins the top 5 of the GII for the first time in 2021.
  • Four Asian economies feature in the top 15: Singapore (8), China (12), Japan (13) and Hong Kong, China (14).
  • India has shot up from a rank of 81 in 2015 to 46 in 2021. India has been on an upward trajectory over the past few years in the GII.
  • India ranks 2nd among the 34 lower middle-income group economies.
  • India ranks 1st among the 10 economies in Central and Southern Asia.
  • India performs better in innovation outputs than innovation inputs in 2021.
  • India, Kenya, the Republic of Moldova, and Vietnam hold the record for overperforming on innovation relative to their level of development for the 11th year in a row.
  • Investments in innovation reached an all-time high in the world before the pandemic with R&D growing at an exceptional rate of 8.5% in 2019.

-Source: Business Standard


FSSAI’s 3rd State Food Safety Index

Context:

In the third State Food Safety Index (SFSI) released in 2021, by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Gujarat topped the ranking among the large states.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice (Issues related to Health, Government Policies and Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
  2. About the State Food Safety Index (SFSI)
  3. Highlights of the SFSI 2021

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

  • FSSAI is an autonomous body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
  • The FSSAI has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which is a consolidating statute related to food safety and regulation in India.
  • Hence, FSSAI is a Statutory Body
  • FSSAI is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety.
  • The main aim of FSSAI is to
    1. Lay down science-based standards for articles of food
    2. To regulate manufacture, storage, distribution, import and sale of food
    3. To facilitate safety of food
  • Standards framed by FSSAI are prescribed under:
    • Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011,
    • Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulation, 2011
    • Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins, and Residues) Regulations, 2011.

About the State Food Safety Index (SFSI)

  • The index is developed by FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) to measure the performance of states on five significant parameters of Food Safety.
  • The parameters include Human Resources and Institutional Data, Compliance, Food Testing – Infrastructure and Surveillance, Training & Capacity Building and Consumer Empowerment.
  • The Index is a dynamic quantitative and qualitative benchmarking model that provides an objective framework for evaluating food safety across all States/UTs.
  • The first State Food Safety Index for the year 2018-19 was announced on the first-ever World Food Safety Day on 7th June 2019.

Highlights of the SFSI 2021

  • Among the larger states, Gujarat was the top ranking state, followed by Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • Among the smaller states, Goa stood first followed by Meghalaya and Manipur.
  • Among UTs, Jammu & Kashmir, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and New Delhi secured top ranks.

-Source: PIB


World Rhino Day: 22 September

Context:

World Rhino Day is observed on 22th September to spread awareness for all five species of rhino and work being done to save them.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of Environment and Ecology, Protected Areas, Species in news)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Indian rhinoceros
  2. Status of Rhinoceros in India
  3. Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020 programme
  4. Other efforts to conserve rhinoceros in India
  5. About World Rhino Day 2021

About Indian rhinoceros

  • The Indian rhinoceros also called the Indian rhino, greater one-horned rhinoceros or great Indian rhinoceros, is a rhinoceros species native to the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, as populations are fragmented and restricted to less than 20,000 square kilometers.
  • Moreover, the extent and quality of the rhino’s most important habitat, the alluvial Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands and riverine forest, is considered to be in decline due to human and livestock encroachment.
  • The Census of Rhinoceros is undertaken at the State-level by the respective State Governments periodically.

Status of Rhinoceros in India

  • The population of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros reached to the brink of extinction by the end of the 20th century with fewer than 200 animals in wild.
  • The Indian rhinoceros once ranged throughout the entire stretch of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, but excessive hunting and agricultural development reduced its range drastically to 11 sites in northern India and southern Nepal.
  • Nearly 85% of the global Indian rhinoceros population is concentrated in Assam, where Kaziranga National Park contains 70% of rhino population.
  • Kaziranga National Park alone had an estimated population of more than 2,000 rhinos in 2009.
  • Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam has the highest density of Indian rhinos in the world.
  • Although poaching remains a continuous threat (more than 150 rhinos were killed in Assam by poachers between 2000 and 2006), their numbers have increased due to conservation measures taken by the government.

Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020 programme

  • The WHO-India launched Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020 programme to protect and increase the population of the one-horned rhinoceros.
  • It is an ambitious effort to attain a wild population of at least 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos spread over seven protected areas in the Indian state of Assam by the year 2020.

IVR 2020 is a partnership among:

  • Government of Assam,
  • International Rhino Foundation,
  • World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF),
  • Bodoland Territorial Council, and
  • U.S. Fish & World Wildlife foundation.

Procedure followed

  • The horns of rhinos will be trimmed (in a way that any damage is not done to their internal organs and the trimmed horns will grow back to their original shape within a few months) before their translocation to protect them from the poachers, who hunt them just to take away their horns.
  • Manas National Park was the first to receive translocated rhinos.
  • One of the biggest challenges turned out to be the difficulty in obtaining etorphine — a major component of the tranquilizing drug used to sedate large wild animals like rhinos and elephants.
  • In partnership with local NGO’s and the State Agriculture Department, the livelihood options of the communities living on the fringes of the park are being developed by undertaking agriculture support programs.

Other efforts to conserve rhinoceros in India

National Conservation Strategy for the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros

  • It was launched in 2019 to conserve the greater one-horned rhinoceros.
  • It is a first of its kind for the species in India which aims to work for the conservation of the species under five objectives which include strengthening protection, expanding the distribution range, research and monitoring, and adequate and sustained funding.
  • Its goal is to repopulate Rhinoceros population in those areas also which used to hold the Rhinoceros earlier by augmenting the existing conservation efforts and strengthening them through scientific and administrative measures.

New Delhi Declaration on Asian Rhinos 2019

  • India and four rhino range nations have signed a declaration ‘The New Delhi Declaration on Asian Rhinos 2019’ for the conservation and protection of the species.
  • India will collaborate with Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia and Malaysia to increase the population of three species of Asian rhinos, including the Greater one-horned rhinoceros found in the Indian sub-continent.
  • The declaration was signed to conserve and review the population of the Greater one-horned, Javan and Sumatran rhinos every four years to reassess the need for joint actions to secure their future.

About World Rhino Day 2021

  • World Rhino day was first announced by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – South Africa in 2010. The species of rhinoceros are on the verge of extinction due to persistent poaching and habitat loss over several decades.
  • There are five species of rhino – white and black rhinos in Africa, and the greater one-horned, Javan and Sumatran rhino species in Asia.
    • White Rhino: Near Threatened.
    • Black Rhino: Critically endangered.
    • Greater One Horned: Vulnerable.
    • Javan: Critically Endangered
    • Sumatran Rhino: Critically Endangered
  • Theme 2021: Keep the five Alive.

-Source: Financial Express

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