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November 12, 2020

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This time in his weekly round-up show, Arvind talks about Affordability of nutritious diets in rural India, Why does air pollution rise in October every year? and Global Hunger Index, 2020 released

“Affordability of healthy diets in rural India”:

Context:


It is research authored by International Food Policy Research Institute economist Kalyani Raghunathan and others.


The conclusions of the study were released recently.

Main findings:


Selecting the inexpensive options from actual Indian diets — wheat, rice, bajra, milk, curd, onions, radish, spinach, bananas — the study computed that a day’s meals would cost ₹45 (or ₹51 for an adult man).

Three out of four rural Indians cannot pay for a nutritious diet. Even if they spent their whole income on food, nearly two out of three of them would not have the money to pay for the inexpensive possible diet that meets the requirements.

If they set aside just a third of their income for non-food costs, 76% of rural Indians would not be able to pay for the proposed diet. This does not even account for the meals of non-earning members of a household, such as children or older adults.

Importance of the study:


The conclusions are significant in the light of the fact that India conducts abysmally on many nutrition indicators even while the country claims to have attained food security.


The latest Global Hunger Index indicated that India has the world’s highest preponderance of child wasting, reflecting acute undernutrition.

On indicators that simply measure calorie intake, India performs relatively better, but they do not account for the nutrition value of those calories.

India’s Nutrition Guidelines:


The National Institute for Nutrition’s guidelines for a nutritionally sufficient diet call for adult women to eat 330 gm of cereals and 75 gm of pulses a day, along with 300 gm of dairy, 100 gm of fruit, and 300 gm of vegetables, which should include at least 100 gm of dark green leafy vegetables.




Why does air smog rise in October every year?

Context:


Air pollution in Delhi and the full of the Indo-Gangetic Plains is a complex phenomenon that is conditional on a variety of factors. But, every year in October, Delhi’s air quality starts to dip.


Characteristics responsible for this:


1. Departure of monsoons:


During monsoons, the common direction of wind is easterly. Once monsoon withdraws, the common direction of winds changes to north westerly.


During summers, too, the way of wind is north westerly and storms carry dust from Rajasthan and sometimes Pakistan and Afghanistan.

2. Drop in Temperatures:


As temperature drops, the inversion elevation — which is the coating beyond which pollutants cannot disperse into the upper layer of the atmosphere – is lowered. The attention of pollutants in the air increases when this happens.


3. High-speed winds:


They are very beneficial at dispersing pollutants, but winters bring a dip in wind speed over all as compared to in summers.


4. Plantation fires:


A 2015 source-apportionment research on Delhi’s air pollution conducted by IIT-Kanpur also states that 17-26% of all particulate matter in Delhi in winters is because of biomass burning.


5. Dry pollution:


Dry cold weather means dust is common in the entire region, which does not see many rainy days between October and June. Dust smog contributes to 56% of PM 10 and and the PM2.5 load at 59 t/d, the top contributors being road 38 % of PM 2.5 concentration.


6. Vehicular pollution:


It is the second biggest cause of smog in winters. According to the IIT Kanpur study, 20 % of PM 2.5 in winters arrives from vehicular smog.


Criteria to improve air quality:


  1. Enhancing public transport

  2. Restricting the number of polluting vehicles on the street

  3. Inaugurating less polluting fuel

  4. Strict emission laws

  5. Increased efficiency for thermal power plants and industries

  6. Moving from diesel generators to rooftop solar

  7. Boosted use of clean renewable energy

  8. Electric automobiles

  9. Removing dust from streets

  10. Governing construction activities

  11. Avoiding biomass burning, etc.



Global Hunger Index, 2020 release:



What is a Global Hunger Index?


The report is a peer-reviewed journal released annually by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.


How are Countries indexed?


The GHI scores are based on a procedure that captures three dimensions of hunger—insufficient caloric intake, child undernutrition, and child mortality—using four component indicators:


UNDERNOURISHMENT: the share of the population that is under-nourished, reflecting insufficient caloric intake

CHILD WASTING: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (low weight-for-height), reflecting acute undernutrition.

CHILD STUNTING: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (low height-for-age), reflecting chronic undernutrition.

CHILD MORTALITY: the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

Main findings:


India has the highest preponderance of wasted children under five years in the world, which reflects acute undernutrition.

India ranks 94 out of 107 countries in the Index, lower than her neighbours such as Bangladesh (75) and Pakistan (88).

The report put India under serious category with the score of 27.2.

The child stunting rate in India was 37.4 %.

The child wasting was at 17.3 %.

The undernourishment rate of India was at 14% and child mortality at 3.7 %.