Global employment scenario post-pandemic

In News

Recently, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) released two reports that gave an indication of the global employment scenario post-pandemic

About Reports

  • The ‘Global Wage Report 2022-2023: The Impact of inflation and COVID-19 on wages and purchasing power’.
    • It discuss the twin crises:
      • Inflation
      • Economic slowdown
    • They created a “striking fall” in real monthly wages around the globe. 
    • Methodology: In each edition of the Global Wage Report the objective is to collect wage data from as many countries and territories (about 190) which are then grouped into five separate regions
  • The ‘Asia-Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2022: Rethinking sectoral strategies for a human-centred future of work’
    • It stated that the Asia-Pacific region lost about 22 million jobs in 2022. 
    • The decrease in wages is placing millions of workers in a dire situation. 
    • Income inequality and poverty will rise if the purchasing power of the lowest paid is not maintained.
  • Reasons for Crisis: 
    • The war in Ukraine 
    • The global energy crisis for this situation. 

Key Findings

  • The real and nominal wages of employees were considered:
    • The word “wage”, was defined as the total gross remuneration including regular bonuses received by employees during a specified period for time (monthly for the report) worked as well as for time not worked. 
  • Nominal wage data:
    • The adjusted figures after accounting for consumer price inflation while real wage growth refers to the year-on-year change in real average monthly wages of all employees.
  • Global wages:
    • They were reduced in 2022 for the first time since 2008. It also added that monthly wages have declined by 0.9 per cent in real terms in the first half of 2022. This is the first negative growth of real global wages in the 21st century.
    • The United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, South Korea, Bulgaria and Spain are some of the countries that witnessed a fall in the minimum wages. While Italy, Japan, Mexico and the UK facing a decrease in overall wages in real terms compared to 2008.
  • Cost of living: 
    • It has the greatest impact on lower-income earners and their households as they have to spend most of their disposable income on essential goods and services, which generally experience greater price increases than non-essential items.
  • Inequality:
    • At the Asia-Pacific level, only the jobs in high-skill occupations saw a recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, which is true across all subregions. It is raising concerns about increased inequality. 
  • Employment: 
    • While there is an employment gain of 1.6% among high-skill workers between 2019 and 2021, there is no such substantial gain among low-to-medium-skill workers. 
    • Among the G-20 countries, a significant gap, in the average level of real wages between advanced G-20 countries and emerging G-20 countries such as India, is seen. 
  • Poverty: 
    • 75 to 95 million people were pushed into extreme poverty during COVID-19. 
  • India: 
    • In India, the nominal wages rose to ?17,017 per month in 2021 from ?4,398 in 2006. 
    • But when inflation is factored in, the real wage growth in India plunged to -0.2% in 2021 from 9.3% in 2006. 
    • The negative growth in India started after the pandemic.
  • Other Asian Countries:
    • In China, the growth decreased from 5.6% in 2019 to 2% in 2022. 
    • In Pakistan, the growth is -3.8%. 

Pandemic Impacts

  • Overall: 
    • COVID-19 intensified informality, led to the withdrawal of workers from the labour market, reduced earnings, increased unemployment and widened inequality
    • They struggled to find shelter, food, and even drinking water for their families.
  • World Bank on Global Growth: 
    • Global growth is expected to decelerate markedly from 4.1 per cent in 2022 and 3.2 per cent in 2023 as pent-up demand dissipates and as fiscal and monetary support is unwound across the world.
  • Major causes for slowdown: 
    • Lengthy lockdown months, 
    • Excess expenditure on health infrastructure 
    • Loss of human resources. 
    • Decreasing purchasing power of people around the world. 
  • Results: 
    • The current slowdown in demand and escalating inflation in the world market are a few repercussions that the world is facing due to the advent of the pandemic. 
    • Lesser earnings further proceed to the lesser demand in the market and eventually create an economic condition of recession where the purchasing power of people does not allow them to consume the current supply rate. 


  • Labour market policies:
    • There is a need to strengthen labour market institutions and wage policies. 
    • The creation of decent formal wage employment is a prerequisite for a more equitable distribution of wages and income, and is a key contributor to equitable and sustainable wage growth. 
  • Gender pay gap: 
    • Governments should focus on the gender pay gap as when women leave the labour market, they are less likely to return than men. 
  • Multipronged approach: 
    • There is an urgent need to address the negative effects of climate change; increasing inequalities; the poverty, discrimination, violence and exclusion endured by millions of people, including the discrimination that women and girls continue to suffer in many parts of the world; the lack of vaccines and access to adequate sanitation and essential healthcare for all; and the growing digital divide between poor and wealthier countries.
International Labour Organisation (ILO) It is a specialised agency of the United Nations.It is the only tripartite U.N. agency since 1919.Aim: To promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.India is a founder member of the ILO.Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.Received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969:For improving peace among classesPursuing decent work and justice for workersProviding technical assistance to other developing nationsFlagship Reports of ILO are:Global Wage ReportWorld Employment and Social OutlookWorld Social Protection ReportWorld of Work Report

Forcible religious conversion

In News

  • The  Supreme Court recently said that while charity is welcome, its purpose should not be to convert the gullible.

More about the news

  • Issue:
    • The court was examining the “very serious issue” of forcible or deceitful conversions in the country.
  • Apex Court’s opinion:
    • Examining the intentions of charity:
      • The Supreme Court said that the purpose of charity should not be conversion. 
      • The court said it would examine such veiled intentions behind religious conversions through allurement by offering food, medicines, treatment, etc.
      • Everybody has a right to choose their religion. But that should not be by luring, by giving some aid.
    • Differentiating the true belief:
      • As stated by the court, conversion on the basis of a voluntarily felt belief in the deity of a different faith is different from belief gained through allurement.
  • Centre’s opinion:
    • Solicitor General for the Centre, said that, a neutral authority will decide whether it is in lieu of grains, medicines, treatment offered that a person is converting or whether there is a religious or philosophical change of heart.
  • Background:
    • Union government has also told the Supreme Court that it is “cognisant of the menace” of forced conversions and will take “appropriate steps” to deal with it.
    • Court has also directed the Centre to provide details of anti-conversion laws in various States and other materials.
Right to Freedom of religion in IndiaThe Indian Constitution allows individuals the freedom to live by their religious beliefs and practices as they interpret these. In keeping with this idea of religious freedom for all, India also adopted a strategy of separating the power of religion and the power of the StateConstitutional Provisions:Article 25: Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religionArticle 26:  Freedom to manage religious affairsArticle 27: Freedom to pay taxes for promotion of any particular religionArticle 28: Freedom to attend religious instruction or worship in certain educational institutions.Conversions & conflict with the right to freedom to religionThe right to freedom to religion, and more importantly the right to conscience of all citizens of the country, is an extremely cherished and valuable rights which ought to be protected by the Executive and the Legislature.But, “the right to freedom of religion does not include a fundamental right to convert people to a particular religion”.

Legislation against Forced Conversions in India

  • About the regulation of Conversions in India:
    • In 1954, Parliament took up for consideration the Indian Conversion (Regulation and Registration) Bill
    • Six years later, another law, the Backward Communities (Religious Protection) Bill, 1960, was proposed to stop conversion.
      • Both were dropped for want of support. 
  • State Laws:
  • There are a few states (Arunachal Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand) which have enacted upon anti-conversion law in India.
  • Aim:
    • The basic aim of the legislation was to prevent the individual and communities from converting one’s religion of their forefathers to another religion mainly weaker or influential sectors of society namely women, children, backward classes and untouchables. 
  • Major Criticisms 
    • The Anti-Conversion law enacted a restriction on conversion to one’s choice of religion, practice, propagate and promote so converted religion and thereby infringes the right to privacy of individuals.
    • Religious leaders of minority communities faced apprehension of being arrested and prosecuted under anti-conversion law.
      • The report states: In most cases, Christians have been forced to shut down their places of worship and stop assembling for their Sunday prayers.
  • Even though their proposed purpose is to protect the minorities it has a detrimental impact on our society. 
  • It has also been criticised that such acts & bills are against the Constitution as there is an attempt to disturb peace in the country and divert public attention for political reasons.

Conclusion and Way ahead

  • There may be freedom of religion but there may not be freedom of religion by forced conversion and Everybody has the right to choose their religion, but not by forced conversion or by giving temptation.

Soil management & food security

In News

  • Recently, ‘World Soil Day’ was celebrated to raise awareness about the importance of healthy soils and soil fertility.

More about the news

  • About:
    • World Soil Day (WSD) is celebrated annually on December 5th. 
    • WSD 2022 had a guiding theme, ‘Soils: Where food begins’.
  • Significance of the day:
    • It is a means to raise awareness on the importance of maintaining healthy soils, ecosystems and human well-being by addressing the growing challenges in soil management, encouraging societies to improve soil health, and advocating the sustainable management of soil.

Significance of healthy soil:

  • Nutrition & Survival: 
    • Healthy soils are essential for our survival. They support healthy plant growth to enhance both our nutrition and water percolation to maintain groundwater levels. 
  • Regulating climate:
    • Soils help to regulate the planet’s climate by storing carbon and are the second largest carbon sink after the oceans. 
    • They help maintain a landscape that is more resilient to the impacts of droughts and floods. 
  • Food production:
    • As soil is the basis of food systems, it is no surprise that soil health is critical for healthy food production.

Degradation and its consequences

  • Soil nutrient loss:
    • Today, nutrient loss and pollution significantly threaten soils, and thereby undermine nutrition and food security globally. 
    • The reasons behind soil nutrient loss range from soil erosion, runoff, leaching and the burning of crop residues.
  • Soil degradation:
    • The main drivers contributing to soil degradation are industrial activities, mining, waste treatment, agriculture, fossil fuel extraction and processing and transport emissions. 
    • Further, excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides, and irrigation with contaminated wastewater are also polluting soils. 
  • Consequences:
    • Soil degradation in some form or another affects around 29% of India’s total land area.
    • This in turn threatens agricultural productivity, in-situ biodiversity conservation, water quality and the socio-economic well-being of land dependent communities.
    • Nearly 3.7 million hectares suffer from nutrient loss in soil (depletion of soil organic matter, or SOM). 
    • Impacts of soil degradation are far-reaching and can have irreparable consequences on human and ecosystem health.

India’s conservation initiatives

  • The Government of India is implementing a five-pronged strategy for soil conservation. This includes
    • Making soil chemical-free, 
    • Saving soil biodiversity, 
    • Enhancing & Maintaining soil moisture, 
    • Mitigating soil degradation and 
    • Preventing soil erosion. 
  • Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme:
    • Need:
      • Earlier, farmers lacked information relating to soil type, soil deficiency and soil moisture content. 
    • About:
      • To address these issues, the Government of India launched the Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme in 2015. 
      • The SHC is used to assess the current status of soil health, and when used over time, to determine changes in soil health. 
    • Significance:
      • The SHC displays soil health indicators and associated descriptive terms, which guide farmers to make necessary soil amendments.
  • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana:
    • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana aims to
      • prevent soil erosion, 
      • regeneration of natural vegetation, 
      • rainwater harvesting and 
      • recharging of the groundwater table.
  • National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA):
    • The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) has schemes promoting traditional indigenous practices such as organic farming and natural farming, thereby reducing dependency on chemicals and other agri-inputs, and decreasing the monetary burden on smallholder farmers.
  • Initiatives by FAO:
    • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) undertakes multiple activities to support the Government of India’s efforts in soil conservation towards fostering sustainable agrifood systems. 
    • Rainfed areas:
      • The FAO is collaborating with the National Rainfed Area Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW) to develop forecasting tools using data analytics that will aid vulnerable farmers in making informed decisions on crop choices, particularly in rainfed areas.
    • Supporting Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission’s (DAY-NRLM):
      • The FAO, in association with the Ministry of Rural Development, supports the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission’s (DAY-NRLM) Community Resource Persons to increase their capacities towards supporting on-farm livelihoods for the adoption of sustainable and resilient practices, organic certification and agri-nutri-gardens.

Way ahead:

  • Strengthening communication channels:
    • There is a need to strengthen communication channels between academia, policymakers and society for the identification, management and restoration of degraded soils, as well as in the adoption of anticipatory measures. 
    • These will facilitate the dissemination of timely and evidence-based information to all relevant stakeholders. 
  • Greater cooperation and partnerships:
    • Greater cooperation and partnerships are central to ensure the availability of knowledge, sharing of successful practices, and universal access to clean and sustainable technologies, leaving no one behind. 
  • Individual efforts:
    • As consumers and citizens, we can contribute by planting trees to protect topsoil, developing and maintaining home/kitchen gardens, and consuming foods that are mainly locally sourced and seasonal.

Mahaparinirvan Diwas


In News

Recently, Prime Minister paid  homage to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar on Mahaparinirvan Diwas.

Mahaparinirvan Diwas

  • December 6 is observed as the Mahaparinirvan Diwas, or the death anniversary, of Dr BR Ambedkar, the Father of the Indian Constitution.
  • Parinirvan can be translated as ‘nirvana’ after death, or freedom from the cycles of life and death.
    • It is considered as liberation from Samara, karma, and the cycle of death and birth. It is the most sacrosanct day in the Buddhist calendar.
  •  As per the Buddhist texts, the death of Lord Buddha is considered to be Mahaparinirvan – the Sanskrit term which means ‘nirvana after death. 

 Dr BR Ambedkar on Religion 

  • Religion and Ambedkar: 
    • Because of his trenchant criticism of major religions, Ambedkar is often mistaken to be against religion, when he was deeply spiritual and conscious of the importance of religion in public life. 
    • His views on Buddhism being superior to other religions are well-known.
  • Buddhism and Marxism:
    • In an essay, Ambedkar has compared Buddhism with Marxism, saying that while both strive for the same end of a just and happy society, the means propounded by Buddha are superior to those of Marx.
    • If the Marxists keep back their prejudices and study the Buddha and understand what he stood for I feel sure that they will change their attitude.
  • Similarities – The basic philosophy of both condensed into few points:
    • The function of Religion is to reconstruct the world and to make it happy and not to explain its origin or its end; 
    • That private ownership of property brings power to one class and sorrow to another; 
    • It is necessary for the good of Society that this sorrow be removed by removing its cause; and All human beings are equal.
  • Ambedkar on Marxism, all that is left is a residue of fire:. 
    • The function of philosophy is to reconstruct the world and not to waste its time in explaining the origin of the world; 
    • That private ownership of property brings power to one class and sorrow to another through exploitation; 
    • That it is necessary for the good of society that the sorrow be removed by the abolition of private property.
  • Similar Means in Buddhism and Marxism: 
    • To establish a happy and fair society, the Buddha had laid down a path for believers.
    • It is clear that the means adopted by the Buddha were to convert a man by changing his moral disposition to follow the path voluntarily. 
    • The means adopted by the Communists are equally clear, short and swift. They are:
      • Violence 
      • Dictatorship of the Proletariat
    • It is now clear what are the similarities and differences between Buddha and Karl Marx. The differences are about the means. The end is common to both.
  • Importance of religion
    • Communists claim the State will eventually wither away, they don’t answer when that will happen, and what will replace the state.
    • Of the two questions, what is more, important is what replaces the state, and if it is anarchy, then the building up of the Communist state would have been a useless effort.
    • The only thing which could sustain it after force is withdrawn is Religion
    • But to the Communists Religion is anathema. Their hatred to Religion is so deep-seated that they will not even discriminate between religions which are helpful to Communism and religions which are not.
BuddhismAbout: It is one of the world’s largest religions and originated 2,500 years ago in India. Buddhists believe that human life is one of suffering, and that meditation, spiritual and physical labor, and good behavior are the ways to achieve enlightenment, or nirvana.It originated in India in 563–483 B.C.E. with Siddhartha Gautama, and over the next millennia it spread across Asia and the rest of the world.About Buddha: Born: 563 BC in Lumbini (modern-day Nepal) as Prince Siddhartha Gautama.He attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya and gave his first sermon at Sarnath near Varanasi which is known as Dharma-Chakra-Pravartana (turning of the wheel of law).He taught in the area around Rajgir, where he was living in a forest monastery built by king Bimbisara of Magadha, and he lived the largest part of his life as The Buddha in Shravasti. He delivered his last sermon in Vaishali.Buddha’s Teachings 

Vizhinjam Port

In News

The Kerala government has agreed to the opposition’s demand for an adjournment debate in the Legislative Assembly on the Latin Catholic Church-backed fishers’ agitation against the Vizhinjam port.

Vizhinjam Port

  • About:
    • Located on the southern tip of the Indian Peninsula
    • Just 10 nautical miles from the major international sea route and east-west shipping axis
    • A natural water depth of more than 20m within a nautical mile from the coast.
  • Significance:
    • It is likely to play a pivotal role in the maritime development of the country and Kerala. 
    • The port is expected to leverage the growth of minor ports in Kerala and other regional ports, creating thousands of employment opportunities.
  • Agitation:
    • The Church-supported Vizhinjam Action Council (VAC) has been on the warpath against the ports’ breakwater construction.
    • The VAC demanded the government halt the port construction till a credible impact assessment study by independent experts.
  • Concerns:
    • The encroaching sea rendered scores of fishers in Vizhinjam homeless. 
    • The port construction caused choppy waters, making fishing perilous in the littoral waters

Digi Yatra

In News

Union Minister for Civil Aviation launched Digi Yatra from the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi for three airports in the country, namely New Delhi, Varanasi, and Bengaluru. 

About Digi Yatra

  • Digi Yatra is conceived to achieve contactless, seamless processing of passengers at airports based on Facial Recognition Technology (FRT).
  • It envisages that travelers pass through various checkpoints at the airport through paperless and contactless processing, using facial features to establish their identity, which would be linked to the boarding pass. 
  • With this technology, the entry of passengers would be automatically processed based on the facial recognition system at all checkpoints – including entry into the airport, security check areas, aircraft boarding, etc.
  • Facial recognition technology is beneficial as it makes flying more convenient and reduces congestion at airports.

How is DigiYatra being implemented?

  • The project is being implemented by the DigiYatra Foundation — a joint-venture company whose shareholders are the Airports Authority of India (26% stake) and Bengaluru Airport, Delhi Airport, Hyderabad Airport, Mumbai Airport and Cochin International Airport. These five shareholders equally hold the remaining 74% of the shares.

International Lusophone Festival

In News

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in partnership with the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Government of Goa is organizing the International

Lusophone Festival in Goa from 3-6 December 2022. 

About Lusophone Festival 

  • The festival seeks to further India’s connection with the Lusophone world. 
  • Goa has had historical linkages with the Lusophone world, which has been nurtured through the presence of Portuguese cultural institutions like the Orient Foundation and the Camoes Institute, which promote Portuguese language and culture in India.
    • This has deepened our economic, cultural co-operation and people-to-people ties with the Community of Portuguese Language (CPLP) member countries.
  • As part of the festival, workshops on Lusophone music for artists and volunteers, as various workshops and exhibitions of unique Goan architecture, Goan handicrafts and Goan furniture are being organised. 
  • The Lusophone Food and Spirits Festival will also showcase the culinary links between India and the Lusophone world.
Do You Know?The Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking countries) world is spread in nine countries across four continents, and Portuguese is the most widely-spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere.from Vasco da Gama onwards, India’s Portuguese connection has not been diplomatically leveraged.Lusophone economies are among the fastest-growing in the world, with Brazil, Angola, Portugal, and Mozambique being some of them.India’s trade with the Lusophone world has grown six-fold in the last decade.The Community of Portuguese Language Countries (Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa)It is  also known as the Lusophone Commonwealth (Comunidade Lusofona)It is a multilateral forum, founded on 17 July 1996 at the 1st CPLP Heads of State & Government Summit in Lisbon. The founding members were Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and Sao Tome e Principe; while Timor Leste and Equatorial Guinea joined later. These 9 Lusophone countries comprise approximately 300 million people in 4 different continents (Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe).India joined CPLP as an associate observer in July 2021. As part of India’s engagement with CPLP, the Ministry of External Affairs celebrated the World Portuguese Language Day in Delhi on 5 May 2022, soon after joining CPLP.

Open Standard Digital Trunking Radio System’ (OS-DTRS)

In News

  • The  Delhi Police is set to design, install and supply the ‘Open Standard Digital Trunking Radio System’ (OS-DTRS) and will phase out the current tetranet wireless network services. 


  • The project will cost close to Rs 100 crore and it will be a more efficient internal communication system, aimed at a faster exchange of information and bigger networks. 
  • The trunking system provides multiple channels and common groups for policemen.
    • This way, they are communicating with more personnel using fewer groups.
      • Groups are formed based on geographical area and function.
  • It will also have a voice logger system, which can be used to describe a crime scene, interrogation details and evidence.
    • The logs are saved in the system.
  • The project’s master site will be at the Delhi Police HQ. 
  • the master site will have OS-DTRS control and switching equipment, a network management system, 90 IP-based logger systems, 50-inch or bigger LED monitors, an antenna system, and maintenance systems. 
  • Equipment and services are expected to run for at least 10 years and fix network issues faced by personnel on the ground.


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