FERTILITY RATE FALLS TO BELOW REPLACEMENT LEVEL
Coming on the back of a sustained family planning programme spanning decades, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR), or the average number of children per woman, has declined further from 2.2 reported in 2015-16 to 2.0 at the all-India level, according to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS) released by the Union Health Ministry Wednesday.
According to the United Nations’ population division, countries experiencing below-replacement fertility — lower than 2.1 children per woman — indicates that a generation is not producing enough children to replace itself, eventually leading to an outright reduction in population.
The data in NFHS 2019-21, the fifth in the survey series, shows the fertility rate at 1.6 per cent in urban areas and 2.1 in rural India.
According to the survey, there are five states with TFR above 2: Bihar (3.0), Meghalaya (2.9), Uttar Pradesh (2.4), Jharkhand (2.3) and Manipur (2.2).
Two states reported TFR at the same level as the national average: Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Two states have a TFR of 1.6: West Bengal and Maharashtra.
Six states have a TFR of 1.7: Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Tripura. Six more states have a TFR of 1.8: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. And five states have a TFR of 1.9: Haryana, Assam, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Mizoram.
The latest data also show significant progress on several indicators related to fertility, family planning, age at marriage and women’s empowerment — all of which have contributed to the decrease in TFR.
CABINET CLEARS BILL TO REPEAL 3 FARM LAWS; PARLIAMENT APPROVAL NEXT
Taking the first step forward in completing the formalities for repealing the three contentious farm laws, the Union Cabinet yesterday approved “The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021”. It will be now tabled in the winter session of Parliament.
Announcing the decision taken at the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by PM Narendra Modi, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said the first step in completing the formalities to repeal the farm laws had been taken.
The government has also decided to extend the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (free foodgrains to around 80 crore poor) from December 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022.
NO DECISION ON WAIVER TO INDIA FOR RUSSIAN ARMS PURCHASE: US
The United States on Wednesday said it had not decided on a potential waiver for India’s arms transactions with Russia, especially of the S-400 missile defence system.
India is also poised to sign a contract with Russia for the manufacturing of AK-203 rifles and will discuss future arms transactions during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit on December 6. The first-ever India-Russia two-plus-two summit of their defence and foreign ministers is also on cards.
United States State Department spokesperson Ned Price denied that the Indo-US two-plus-two of defence and foreign ministers had been “shifted”. “We have never announced a date for the 2+2. Of course, we’ve committed to it because we have a significant relationship with India, including its status as a major defence partner. But I can assure you that there will be an opportunity for a 2+2 before long,” he said. “But we’ve urged all our partners to forego transactions with Russia that may risk triggering sanctions under CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act),” he said.
GERMANY ANNOUNCES €1.2 BN TO HELP INDIA FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE
Germany on Wednesday announced new commitments worth more than Euro 1.2 billion, or Rs 10,025 crore, to India to support its fight against climate change. A statement released by Germany said the focus of the financial commitment to India will be to tackle climate change and assist in the country’s ongoing energy transition.
“Every fifth person on this planet is Indian. Without Indians you cannot solve any big world problems, and one of the biggest is climate change. We try to work together with India and help with climate change, renewable energy and similar projects, which also helps in working towards our own goals we promised at COP26 in Glasgow,’’said German Ambassador Walter Lindner.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released earlier this year found that both India and Germany will suffer more extreme events due to climate change. Both countries together account for nearly 9 per cent of global greenhouse gas.
COVID DASHBOARD – INDIA
As of 0800 IST 25/Nov
from mohfw.gov.in ,
New Cases on Tuesday (Wednesday data is not yet available) 9,284
Active Cases as of Wednesday Morning 1,09,940 (-1541)
Deaths as of Thursday Morning 4,66,980 (+396) (Wednesday’s figure of 396 deaths includes 308 from Kerala of which 273 were old deaths, as the data is being reconciled)
Total Vaccination as of Wednesday Morning: 119.38 Crores (+90,27,638)
US INVITES TAIWAN TO DEMOCRACY SUMMIT, ANGERING CHINA
Ties between the US and China has hit another low after the Biden White House invited Taiwan to a virtual summit of democracies on December 9 and 10, causing Beijing to blow a gasket and warn that Washington is “playing with fire”. With ties already tense and tetchy over multiple disputes and differences between Washington and Beijing, Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province that has to be reunited with mainland China, is emerging as a new global flashpoint. Amid apprehensions of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan and a forced accession, President Joe Biden had pledged US defence of the island despite reaffirming a one-China policy.
On Monday, the US state department crossed what China regards as another red line, unveiling a list of 110 participants that included Taiwan and excluded China, and also Russia and Turkey. India and Pakistan are among the invitees, along with major European democracies, but Washington’s Gulf allies like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE don’t make the cut.
The US outreach to Taiwan is seen by Beijing as another provocation, with Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian likening it to “playing with fire”.
OLAF SCHOLZ SET TO BE GERMAN CHANCELLOR, MERKEL ERA ENDS
For the first time in 16 years, Germany will have a center-left government and a new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, a Social Democrat (SPD), whose job will be to fill the shoes of Angela Merkel, the woman who made Germany indispensable in Europe and the world. After much anticipation, Scholz and his coalition partners from the progressive Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) stepped in front of the cameras on Wednesday to announce a 177-page governing deal they have negotiated under strict secrecy since the September 26 election.
They acknowledged their differences but said they had found enough common ground to push forward with plans to beat back the pandemic, increase the minimum wage and put Germany on a path to quit coal and expand renewable energy to 80% by 2030. The alliance — named a traffic light coalition after the three parties’ respective colours — has a majority in the lower house of parliament and hopes the government will be sworn in early next month after the parties ratify the coalition pact.
CHINA REMAINS VAGUE ON EMERGENCY CRUDE RELEASE
The dip in the international crude prices soon after US President Joe Biden’s announcement to release oil from American strategic reserves in line with other countries, including India, China and Japan, proved short-lived.
Crude prices began inching up soon after it became clear that China was ambiguous and the expected releases from South Korea, Japan, the UK and South Korea will not be high.
Experts say China needs to release 15 million tonnes, but the signals were ambiguous. The Chinese MEA said Beijing is maintaining “close communication with relevant parties, including oil consuming and producing countries” and had “noted” recent actions by some countries on strategic reserves.
SC SEEKS STATISTICAL MODEL TO DEAL WITH DELHI POLLUTION
The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre and NCR states to continue with measures already suggested to tackle air pollution in the national capital and mooted a scientific approach based on a statistical model to alleviate the situation in the long run.
“All these are ad hoc measures… Response has to be based on a statistical model for Delhi… The Commission (for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas) has to set up a scientific study… There has to be a statistical model which says if these are the steps we take in the next seven days given the wind directions, these are the advantages we can get,” Justice D Y Chandrachud, sharing a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana, said.
Referring to the submissions that restrictions directed by the Commission will kick in as soon as the conditions turn severe, Justice Chandrachud said: “This is the national capital. Look at the signal we are sending to the world. The response has to be based on a statistical model for Delhi… You don’t have to wait till air quality becomes severe……A scientific model based on seasons and wind direction has to be made.”
'WHY SHOULD WE MEET SONIA EVERY TIME': MAMATA AFTER MEETING PM
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, indicated that expansion plans for her party, Trinamool Congress, were well underway.
Speaking to reporters after her meeting with Modi, Banerjee said that she raised the issue of the BSF's territorial jurisdiction in West Bengal, demanding that it be withdrawn. "Giving more powers to the BSF leads to confrontation in law and order with the state police. We are not against the BSF. It is not right to disturb the federal structure without any reason," she said.
The chief minister also said that she has invited the prime minister to inaugurate the Global Business Summit which will be held in the state next year.
The chief minister said that she raised the issue of violence in Tripura in which TMC workers were allegedly assaulted by BJP workers.
On the Uttar Pradesh elections, Banerjee said that she was open to helping Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav if he needs the TMC's help. "If Trinamool can help defeat the BJP in UP, we will go... If Akhilesh (Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav) wants our help, we will help," she said.
Days after she inducted two senior Congress leaders into her party, Banerjee said she had no plans to meet party president Sonia Gandhi during her trip this time. "This time I sought time only from the prime minister. The leaders are all busy with Punjab polls. Work is first... Why should we meet Sonia every time? It is not constitutionally mandated," she said when asked if she was meeting Sonia Gandhi.
Meanwhile, the Congress is headed for a major setback in Meghalaya with the Trinamool Congress on Wednesday claiming that 12 of the 17 MLAs of the principal Opposition party are set to join its camp.
Meghalaya is set to hold Assembly polls in 2023.
The Congress’s Meghalaya unit has been in turmoil since Vincent H Pala was appointed state unit president in August, with S former Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma claiming that the appointment was carried out without his consent.
TIKAIT WARNS, MoS AJAY MISHRA SKIPS LAKHIMPUR EVENTS
Two days after Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait threatened an agitation if Union MoS (Home) Ajay Mishra took part in the inauguration of two cooperative sugar mills in Lakhimpur Kheri on Wednesday, the minister skipped the event.
Invitation cards had been sent out with Mishra as the chief guest at both the sugar mills — in Belrayan and Sampurna Nagar in the district — which held events on Wednesday to mark the beginning of crushing season for 2021-22.
Mishra had also skipped the final day of the annual conference of DGPs and IGs in Lucknow on Sunday.
Mishra’s son Ashish is accused of murder in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident of October 3, when a convoy of vehicles, including one owned by the minister, ploughed into a group of protesting farmers, killing four of them.
On Monday, addressing farmers at the kisan mahapanchayat in Lucknow, Tikait had said that if Mishra attended the events, no sugarcane would be taken to the two mills and that farmers would dump their produce at the DM office in Lakhimpur Kheri.
FORMER MUMBAI CP PARAM BIR SINGH SAYS HE IS IN CHANDIGARH
Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, who has been declared a 'proclaimed offender' by a court in Mumbai, on Wednesday said he was in Chandigarh and would visit Mumbai soon. The IPS officer who is facing several extortion cases in Maharashtra told news channels that he was in Chandigarh.
Singh has not reported to work since May this year, after his transfer from the post of Mumbai police commissioner and his subsequent allegations of corruption against then Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh.
The Supreme Court has now granted Singh protection from arrest. Asked by reporters if he would surrender (before the police or court), Singh said he had yet to decide his next course of action.
He was transferred after Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze was arrested in the case of an SUV with explosives found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's house, 'Antilia' and the subsequent suspicious death of businessman Mansukh Hiran.
REGIONAL SKEW: DU SETS UP PANEL TO STUDY BOARD-WISE INTAKE
Amidst a debate on regional skew in the university’s intake, Delhi University (DU) has set up a nine-member committee to examine the Board-wise distribution of students admitted this year and excess admissions against the sanctioned intake of programmes.
The question of a regional skew in the university’s admissions had become the focal point during admissions in the first cut-off list. A majority of seats in courses with a 100% cut-off had been filled by students from the Kerala state Board. After the first list of admissions, both BA (Honours) Political Science at Hindu College and BSc (Honours) Computer Science had seen over-admission in unreserved seats, and Ramjas College had filled all but three unreserved seats in Political Science, despite having 100% cut-offs — 95% of these seats had been filled by students from the Kerala state Board.
There is a difference between how the Kerala state Board and DU calculate a student’s overall performance in the Board examination — while the school Board uses the student’s performance in both Class 11 and 12 to calculate the overall percentage, the University uses only Class 12 marks, which are given more liberally.
Although there were calls to tweak the admission process, the University had decided to not introduce any changes midway.
PANIC SELLING AS GOVT PLANS TO BRING CRYPTOCURRENCY BILL
The Centre’s plan to introduce in Parliament a Bill to bar most private cryptocurrencies has triggered panic selling in the country’s digital currency market with investors looking to exit positions despite the losses.
The dollar-linked stable coin Tether slumped 25 per cent to nearly Rs 60 ($0.8061) on Wednesday, said Naimish Sanghvi, a cryptocurrency investor. A second crypto investor said the value of his portfolio fell to about Rs 22,000 from Rs 34,000 on Tuesday as a result of heavy selling. “I am contemplating selling because the future appears so uncertain,” said the investor.
Several exchanges were facing deposit and withdrawal challenges due to the high volume of selling, said cryptocurrency traders. WazirX, one of India’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, said that it was investigating reports that users were facing delays on its app and website. It later claimed the issue had been resolved.
India has 15 cryptocurrency exchange platforms, including CoinSwitch Kuber, Zebpay, WazirX, UnoCoin and CoinDCX.
The industry, meanwhile, has urged the government to take a nuanced approach towards regulating crypto assets and asked investors to remain calm and not arrive at a rushed conclusion.
According to legislative agenda released on Tuesday for the winter session of Parliament commencing on November 29, the government will allow only certain cryptocurrencies to promote the underlying technology and its uses. The Bill, if passed, will effectively ban citizens in India from transacting in most cryptocurrencies.
Though there is no official data available on cyrptocurrency holdings and the user base, industry estimates suggest there are 1.5 crore to 2 crore investors in India. Private firm BrokerChooser had recently put the user base count at over 10 crore. The crypto investments in the country are said to have increased from Rs 6,876 crore in April last year to a whopping over Rs 40,000 crore in May this year.
INDIA CHOOSE TO BAT AS KANPUR TEST GETS UNDERWAY
They're the top two teams in the ICC Test rankings. They recently contested the World Test Championship final. One team has won each of their last three meetings, but all three Tests were played in conditions that negated the other team's biggest point of difference, their spin bowling.
India now have the chance to play New Zealand in their own conditions. New Zealand now have the chance to prove they aren't just WTC champions but also the best all-conditions Test team in the world.
This should be one of the most eagerly anticipated series of recent times, but just look at who won't be lining up in Kanpur even though they're fully fit: Kohli, Rohit, Pant, Bumrah, Shami, Boult, de Grandhomme. It's the reality of these times. There's endless, wall-to-wall cricket, most of it within biosecure bubbles, and, at some point, everyone needs a break.
India Playing XI: 1 Mayank Agarwal, 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Axar Patel, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Umesh Yadav
Sensex 58,341 (-323), Nifty 17,415 (-88), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores) 64,703
Nasdaq 15,845 (+70) Dow 35,804 (-9), S&P 4,701 (+12)
US$-Rs. 74.41 GBP-Rs. 99.35, Euro-Rs. 83.46, UAE Dhm-Rs.20.25, Can$-Rs. 58.68, Aus$- Rs. 53.61
GBP 0.74 /US$, Euro 0.89 /US$, Jap.Yen 115.19 /US$, Aus$ 1.38 /US$, Sing 1.36 /US$, Bang Taka 84.19 /US$, Can$ 1.26 /US$, Mal Ring 4.20 /US$,
Pak Re 174.60 /US$, Phil Peso 50.43 /US$, Russian Rouble 74.61 /US$, NZ$ 1.44 /US$, Thai Baht 32.29 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 26.69 /US$
Bitcoin - USD 57,628
Dollar Index 96.77 Brent Crude 82.19 BDI 2,654
Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,792 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 4,763 / 4,663, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 67,600
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Forget all the reasons why it won't work and believe in the one reason why it will. - Unknown
He said... What have you been doing with all the grocery money I gave you?
She said...Turn sideways and look in the mirror.
He said... Let's go out and have some fun tonight
She said... Okay, but if you get home before I do, leave the hallway light on.