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1.Responding the China Pakistan economic corridor (Live Mint)

2.Waste management model for small towns (Down to Earth)

3.World will have more obese children and adolescents than underweight by 2022 (Down to Earth)

1.Responding the China Pakistan economic corridor (Live Mint)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the the challenges that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is facing  and how India will need to do much more to provide an effective counter-narrative. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been attracting a lot of attention lately and for all the wrong reasons. Pakistan has reportedly rejected China’s offer of assistance for the $14 billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam, asking Beijing to take the project out of the $60 billion CPEC so that Pakistan can build the dam on its own. Because the project was in a disputed territory, the Asian Development Bank had refused to finance it.
  • So China was keen to step in but Pakistan realized that the tough conditions being imposed by Beijing pertaining to the ownership of the project, operation and maintenance costs, and security of the dam would make the project politically and economically untenable. It gravitated, therefore, towards self-financing.

 More differences ahead

  • This was followed by differences on the use of the Chinese yuan in Pakistan along the lines of the US dollar. Pakistan had to reject this demand as well, arguing that common use of the yuan in any part of Pakistan, exchangeable like the dollar, has to be on a reciprocal basis.
  • As the initial euphoria surrounding CPEC gives way to a more realistic appraisal of the costs of the project, both Beijing and Islamabad seem to be reassessing the terms of their engagement. While China is demanding greater autonomy and security in operationalizing the project, Pakistan is finding it difficult to accede to most of these demands.
  • There are growing voices in Pakistan that China seems to be a bigger beneficiary from CPEC than Pakistan, with its modus operandi of importing goods and labour for the projects at the expense of the local market and Islamabad carrying the burden of paying interest on loans to Chinese banks way into the future.
  • Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong made it clear recently that Pakistan is not producing the goods that are needed in China. Only when Chinese companies start producing such products in Pakistan would the trade balance be rectified, according to him. This has reinforced the perception that all China wants is to use the infrastructural advancement of CPEC for the benefit of Chinese companies.

India’s stake

  • Meanwhile, China’s overtures to India on joining One Belt, One Road (Obor) have continued. The Chinese ambassador to India, said during a recent speech that China “can change the name of CPEC” and “create an alternative corridor through Jammu and Kashmir, Nathu La pass or Nepal to deal with India’s concerns”. It is getting clearer by the day that the viability of CPEC requires India’s participation.
  • India so far has steadfastly refused to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, maintaining opposition to China’s investment in CPEC, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. India, boycotting the Belt and Road Forum in May, announced: “No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Indian foreign secretary articulated this position at the 2017 Raisina Dialogue: “China is very sensitive about its sovereignty. The economic corridor passes through an illegal territory, an area that we call Pak-occupied Kashmir. You can imagine India’s reaction at the fact that such a project has been initiated without consulting us.” Prime Minister too asserted that “connectivity in itself cannot override or undermine the sovereignty of other nations”.
  • The long-term strategic consequences of Obor for India could also allow China to consolidate its presence in the Indian Ocean at India’s expense. China may use its economic power to increase its geopolitical leverage and, in doing so, intensify security concerns for India. CPEC gives China a foothold in the western Indian Ocean with the Gwadar port, located near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, where Chinese warships and a submarine have surfaced.
  • Access here allows China greater potential to control maritime trade in that part of the world a vulnerable point for India, which sources more than 60% of its oil supplies from the Middle East. What’s more, if CPEC does resolve China’s “Malacca dilemma” its over-reliance on the Malacca Straits for the transport of its energy resources this would give Asia’s largest economy greater operational space to pursue unilateral interests in maritime matters to the detriment of freedom of navigation and the trade-energy security of several states in the Indian Ocean region, including India.

Way ahead

  • Indian opposition has now galvanized those who remain suspicious of Chinese motives behind Obor in Pakistan as well as in the rest of the world. The West is now more vocal in its concerns and voices in Pakistan are demanding a reappraisal of the project. But India needs to do more than just articulate its opposition. It needs to provide a new template for the world on global connectivity projects. New Delhi has moved in that direction recently with an articulation of the Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC).
  • The AAGC, structured to connect East Asia, South-East Asia and South Asia with Africa and Oceania, provides a normative alternative to Obor with its promise of being more consultative and inclusive. With the AAGC, India and Japan have underscored the “importance of all countries ensuring the development and use of connectivity infrastructure in an open, transparent and non-exclusive manner based on international standards and responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law, and the environment.”
  • This is a welcome first step but given the challenges that CPEC is facing, India will need to do much more to provide an effective counter-narrative.

Question–  How India should respond to the challenges of CPES without hampering its own interests ?

2.Waste management model for small towns (Down to Earth)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the waste management model of a small town which can act as an inspiration for other towns. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • Vengurla is one of the only towns in India to convert a landfill into a waste management park, called the Swachh Bharat Waste Park.
  • In 2015, the town with a population of 15,000 adopted waste segregation at source and today has achieved more than 95 per cent segregation. What more, it is also one of the only towns in the country to generate revenue out of waste.
  • A local body of the town earns Rs 1.5 lakh /month from processing 7 tonnes waste generated per day by the town (see cost analysis below). The man behind the transformation, Ramdas Kokare, who took over as Vengurla’s chief officer in 2015 believes that apart from segregation at source, no city can become clean without public participation.

Behaviour change

  • In November 2016, the town made its bye-laws for solid waste management, as mandated under the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016. Under the bye-laws, Vengurla banned the usage of plastic bags of less than 50 microns and imposed a fine of Rs 500 for its usage. Littering and non-segregation were also fined. A defaulter is fined only after two warnings.
  • Implementation is assured by close monitoring by the local body, which also encourages citizens to segregate. Citizens as well as sanitation workers were educated on the need for segregation at source. The city has 25 sanitation workers, who are regularly trained on waste management by the body. Apart from holding door to door meetings, each household was provided with a dustbin to segregate their waste.
  • The park now hosts a biogas plant, a briquette-making plant, a segregation yard and a plastic crusher unit .It also has fruit trees and an organic farm. The idea was to make waste management look hygienic and pristine, not a mess it is generally perceived to be.

Waste management model in vengurla

  • The landfill was remediated by segregating organic content and fluff. While the fluff was sent to the cement company for co-processing, compost was made from the organic waste, which is used in the farm and sold to locals.
  • To earn additional revenue, the municipality recently started collecting user fee from households (Rs 15), multistoried apartments (Rs 30), hotels (Rs 500) and restaurants (Rs 200). To encourage reuse, unused items are dropped into a box placed under a tree, called the tree of humanity.
  • The state government conferred Vengurla the Vasundhra Award, 2017 for its green initiatives and shortlisted it as a successful model for 100 per cent solid waste management under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan. But it isn’t just the government which is happy. The entire city takes pride in its waste management system.

Question: How the waste management model of Vengurla can be implemented on the pan-India level to resolve the problem of waste management?

 

3.World will have more obese children and adolescents than underweight by 2022 (Down to Earth)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the challenges of health related problems for the children. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • The number of obese children and adolescents (aged five to 19 years) worldwide has risen 10-folds in the past four decades, according to a new study led by the Imperial College London and the World Health Organization (WHO). More children and adolescents will be obese than moderately or severely underweight by 2022, if current trends continue.

Situation in India

  • India had the highest prevalence of moderate and severe underweight throughout these four decades (24.4% of girls and 39.3% of boys were moderately or severely underweight in 1975, and 22.7% and 30.7% in 2016). Ninety seven million of the world’s moderately or severely underweight children and adolescents lived in India in 2016.
  • The study was published in The Lancetahead of World Obesity Day (October 11). It analysed weight and height measurements from nearly 130 million people aged over five years (31.5 million people aged five to 19, and 97.4 million aged 20 and older), making it the largest ever number of participants involved in an epidemiological study.
  • More than 1,000 contributors participated in the study, which looked at body mass index (BMI) and how obesity has changed worldwide from 1975 to 2016.

Worldwide trends

  • Obesity rates in the world’s children and adolescents increased from less than 1% (equivalent to five million girls and six million boys) in 1975 to nearly 6% in girls (50 million) and nearly 8% in boys (74 million) in 2016. Combined, the number of obese five to 19 year olds rose more than ten-folds globally, from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016. An additional 213 million were overweight in 2016 but fell below the threshold for obesity.
  • Over the past four decades, obesity rates in children and adolescents have soared globally, and continue to do so in low- and middle-income countries. More recently, they have plateaued in higher income countries, although obesity levels remain unacceptably high.
  • These worrying trends reflect the impact of food marketing and policies across the globe, with healthy nutritious foods too expensive for poor families and communities. The trend predicts a generation of children and adolescents growing up obese and at greater risk of diseases like diabetes. We need ways to make healthy, nutritious food more available at home and school, especially in poor families and communities, and regulations and taxes to protect children from unhealthy foods.
  • Nevertheless, the large number of moderately or severely underweight children and adolescents in 2016 (75 million girls and 117 million boys) still represents a major public health challenge, especially in the poorest parts of the world. This reflects the threat posed by malnutrition in all its forms, with there being underweight and overweight young people living in the same communities.

Way ahead

  • WHO is also publishing a summary of the Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) Implementation Plan. The plan gives countries clear guidance on effective actions to curb childhood and adolescent obesity. WHO has also released guidelines calling on frontline healthcare workers to actively identify and manage children who are overweight or obese.
  • WHO encourages countries to implement efforts to address the environments that today are increasing our children’s chance of obesity. Countries should aim particularly to reduce consumption of cheap, ultra-processed, calorie dense, nutrient poor foods. They should also reduce the time children spend on screen-based and sedentary leisure activities by promoting greater participation in physical activity through active recreation and sports.
  • The areas of the world with the largest increase in the number of obese children and adolescents were East Asia, the high-income English-speaking region, and the Middle East and North Africa.

Question– What do you mean by hidden hunger? How the problem of hidden hunger and obesity can be tackled?