In India, there are 56,747 female researchers (full-time equivalent), which is 16.6 per cent of all the researchers, Jitendra Singh, Union minister of state (independent charge) for science and technology and earth sciences, told the Lok Sabha March 15, 2023.
He was referring to the latest resource and development statistics of the central government.
Downgrading of India in Global Hunger Index
India’s rank (107 out of 121) in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) should not be taken at face value, Smriti Zubin Irani, Union minister for women and child development, said in the Rajya Sabha. GHI does not reflect India’s true picture as it is a flawed measure of ‘hunger’ — it is neither appropriate nor representative of hunger prevalent in a country, she added.
Out of its four indicators, only one — undernourishment — is directly related to hunger, according to the minister.
Two other indicators — stunting and wasting — are outcomes of complex interactions of various other factors like sanitation, genetics, environment and utilisation of food intake apart from hunger, which is taken as the causative / outcome factor for stunting and wasting in the GHI, Irani added.
Coldwaves in North India
The northern parts of India, experienced severe cold conditions this year during the winter months of January and February, Singh told the Lok Sabha.
About 74 cold wave events were reported in North India and six in South India in January 2023, Singh noted.
Cold wave events, however, decreased over North India in the recent decades (2001-2020) compared to the 1971-80 decade, data since 1971 showed, the minister added.
Predicting cloudbursts is challenging across the world, said Singh. This is mainly attributed to small size, short duration and sudden development of thunderstorms, he added.
Also, the complexity of associated atmospheric processes which prevail in tropical regions like India also make it difficult to predict cloudbursts, the minister noted.
Share of atomic energy in power generation
The share of nuclear power in the total electricity generation in the country was 3.15 per cent in 2021-22, according to Singh.
At present, India has 22 nuclear reactors with a total capacity of 6,780 megawatts, he added. There are also 11 reactors with a total capacity of 8,700 MW under various stages of construction / commissioning (which includes KAPP-3 and PFBR by BHAVINI).
The Centre has also sanctioned 10 more nuclear power reactors with a total capacity of 7,000 MW, the minister stated.
The country’s installed nuclear power capacity is set to increase from 6,780 MW at present to 22,480 MW by 2031, on progressive completion of projects under construction and accorded sanction, he said.
Fund under PM-POSHAN
The revised estimate for the Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM POSHAN; erstwhile mid-day meal) scheme has been increased to Rs 12,800 crore for 2022-23 from the budget estimate of Rs 10,233.75 crore, Irani told the Rajya Sabha.
Rs 10,000 crore was allocated for the scheme for 2017-18, Rs 10,500 crore in 2018-19, Rs 11,000 crore in 2019-20, Rs 12,900 crore in 2020-21 (as all the enrolled children were provided food security allowance due to COVID-19 pandemic during the year), according to data shared by the department of school education and literacy under the education ministry, Irani noted.
The BE in 2021-22 was lower due to the unforeseen outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, forcing all schools to closed, resulting in activities coming to a standstill, she stated. The budget estimate for 2022-23 was Rs 10,233.75 crore, the minister shared.
But there has been an increase in the enrolled number of children in government and government-aided schools over the last few months, she added. Besides, the material cost has also gone up, making it necessary to revise the estimates for the current fiscal.
Survey of Bagdi, Lohar and Banjara nomadic tribes
A total of 1,262 communities have been identified as de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic communities across the country which includes Bagdi, Lohar and Banjara communities, A Narayanaswamy, Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment told the Rajya Sabha.
He was citing from a report by the National Commission for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes constituted by Government of India in February 2014 to prepare a state-wise list of castes belonging to these communities.
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