1.Unhealthy urban India (Live mint, Down to Earth)

2.India-EU and Climate Change (The Economic Times, Down to Earth)


1.Unhealthy urban India (Live mint, Down to Earth)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue. (GS paper II)


  • For years, India has been struggling to deal with the double burden of undernutrition and obesity. India has peculiar nutritional status where undernutrition and over nutrition coexist among urban population. While undernutrition has given rise to vitamin deficiencies, anaemia and stunted growth, over nutrition is the reason behind the rise of non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, hypertension and diabetes mellitus, among urban population.
  • According to the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) report, long hours in office, eating unhealthy food, drinking carbonated beverages, getting little time for exercise makes India unhealthy. The NIN, functions under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).


  • This is the third assessment on urban population, although the NNMB has been conducting regular assessments on rural and tribal nutrition surveys. The first survey was conducted in 1983, followed by 1993 and 2017.  Lot of changes has been incorporated into the new report: the sample size has increased, demographics have been given due attention and lifestyle changes have been recorded.
  • The National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB) has been keeping a track of India’s nutritional status. To understand the current nutritional status of urban population in India, a study was conducted between 2015 and 2016 and the report was released on September 2017.
  • Rajasthan, Kerala, Gujarat, New Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry have the highest obesity rates in the country with 44 per cent of adult women and 33 per cent of men being obese. New Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala lead in hypertension rate with 31.1 per cent of men and 26.1 per cent of women being affected by it.
  • Overall, 16 states were covered in the survey, while 21.5 per cent of men and19.4 per cent of women are suffering from diabetes in the country, Puducherry and New Delhi have highest number of diabetes-affected people.
  • For hyperlipidemia, there are two components-cholesterol level and level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). About 22.3 per cent of men and 22.4 per cent of women suffer from high cholesterol levels. About 40.4 per cent of men and 27.7 per cent of women have high HDL levels.
  • The latest report states that the Andamans has the highest monthly per capita income and West Bengal has the least. This has been used as an indicator to understand the link between nutrition consumption and income.
  • Cereals form the significant part of the diet among the households in India. However, it has been found that the average intake was 320g per day, lower than the recommended daily intake (RDI). The intake of pulses and legumes was close to the RDI.
  • Consumption of milk and sugar products is also below the RDI. When it comes to nutrient intake, only Vitamin C and folic acid levels are at appropriate levels. Intake of other micronutrients like thiamine (vitamin B1), Niacin, iron, and energy and protein is lower than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA).

Way ahead

  • India needs to be awakened and the communities should be sensitised about the need for change. As good health and well-being feature in the list of Sustainable Development Goals, it is even more crucial for India one of the signatories of SDGs to meet the goals.

Question– Lifestyle diseases, change in nutrition consumption pattern making urban India unhealthy, critically analyse the steps taken by government and also suggest measures.


2.India-EU and Climate Change (The Economic Times, Down to Earth)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue on recently held EU- India summit.(GS paper II)


  • Recently the Prime Minister of India and the top leadership of the European Union deliberated on a range of key issues to boost overall ties between India and the 28-nation bloc. The two sides reviewed a full spectrum of their ties at the 14th summit with a focus on ramping up two-way trade and investment.  Both India and EU are natural partners and both share common concern over issues of global governance like climate change.

About EU-India Summit

  • India and the EU have been strategic partners since 2004.The EU is India’s largest trading partner, whilst India is the EU’s 9th largest partner. The bloc is India’s largest regional trading partner with bilateral trade in goods standing at USD 88 billion in 2016. India received around USD 83billions of foreign direct investment from Europe between 2000 and 2017, constituting approximately 24 per cent of the total FDI inflows into the country during the period.
  • The EU-India s joint action plan (JAP) was developed in 2005. With the initiation of negotiations on Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), the nature of this bilateral relation seems to have moved towards being trade-based. Other issues, including foreign policy, security, environment and terrorism also formed part of the JAP and discussions under the bilateral EU-India Summit were held every year from then on until 2013 when the process was disrupted due to the deadlock on BTIA.
  • The EU’s other strategic partners are China, Mexico and Brazil. The latest EU-Russia strategic partnership was signed in 2011 but failed on account of annexation of Crimea and host of Russian activities viewed as disruptive and unstrategic by the Europeans.
  • The 13th summit was held in Brussels in March 30 last year. At the recent 2017 Summit, leaders expressed their shared commitment to strengthening the economic partnership between the EU and India and to achieving the full potential of this aspect of our relationship.
  • There are efforts on both sides to re-engage actively towards a timely relaunch of the negotiations for a comprehensive and mutually-beneficial Free Trade Agreement. The leaders also reaffirmed the centrality of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the importance of enhancing free, fair and open trade for achieving sustainable growth and development. Both sides reiterated their commitment to work together with all Members of the WTO to make the 11th Ministerial Conference a success with concrete results.
  • Three pacts were signed: one between European Investment bank and International Solar Alliance; second on Bangalore metro rail project and third on mobility of Indian and European researchers. Discussions on migration, refugees and stepping up maritime security were held among other issues. They called for a free trade agreement between India and the EU.
  • Summit leaders welcomed the recent launch of the Investment Facilitation Mechanism for EU investments in India, which will facilitate and encourage EU investments by providing concrete on-the-spot support to EU companies intending to invest there, in particular by providing procedural guidance. The EU-India relations have struggled from 2009 onwards.
  • The Euro zone debt crisis, policy incoherence in the EU as a result of its expansion, policy paralysis in India under UPA II and disruption in negotiations on BTIA are the key reasons cited by experts for the same.
  • During the same phase, the EU’s role in areas of global governance such as climate change also decreased significantly. Its diplomacy failed during the 2009 Copenhagen Summit, which was meant to adopt another deal to replace Kyoto Protocol. Its role in the Paris Summit, 2015 was also largely defined by French leadership.
  • However, things have been improved; the EU has emerged as a stronger economic entity and India focusing on development and good governance. EU and India renewed their relations during the 13th EU-India Summit held in Brussels in 2016, which saw resumption of BTIA talks and adoption of an Agenda for Action 2020 to jointly guide and strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership in the next five years.
  • The Agenda identifies key areas of cooperation, including foreign policy, security, clean energy, climate change, clean coal, migration and refugees. The ambit of cooperation extends to India’s flagship initiatives, including Make in India, Clean Ganga, Clean India, Smart Cities and biotechnology, sustainable energy and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The climate change

  • The Agenda for Action 2020 has a separate section on climate change under which both the EU and India seek to work on enforcing intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) which the countries submitted leading up to the Paris Agreement.
  • Cooperation on other components of Paris Agreement such as transparency and accountability framework, adaptation and disaster preparedness also forms part of the vision document. Regarding energy, the cooperation is focused on energy efficiency in buildings, development of renewable resources, including solar and offshore wind, smart grids, energy research and innovation.
  • The economic partnership seems to have been mutually beneficial. The EU is India’s largest trading partner with India, accounting for 24 per cent of the total foreign investments. But now, the nature of partnership must be revisited and made more dynamic by including other pressing issues and confronting us today. Climate change is one of them.
  • The After the US pullout, the EU is well positioned to lead the climate agenda despite deadlock over Brexit. The EU has been a leader on clean technologies. Research points out that globally, 40 per cent of the high-value technologies started in EU. In the field of renewable, EU has proved its mettle. At 276 GW, EU has the highest renewable energy capacity in the world. It has also set a target for all new buildings to be nearly zero-energy by 2020. The odds are in the EU’s favour to claim its resurgence in climate change issue.
  • Domestically, while the focus should be on building consensus among member states to adopt a common EU stance and policies, the already existing strategic partnership with countries, including India and other emerging powers, can provide necessary forums to institutionalise its leadership role globally.

Question– Explain the European Union and India’s strategic partnership. Discuss how joint innovation of both countries can address the Climate change.