INDIA AGEING REPORT
Why in news?
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released a report in 2023, titled the “India Ageing Report,” which highlights the significant demographic shift India is experiencing with an increasingly ageing population.
Key findings and implications of the report
Rapid Growth of Elderly Population
- The report estimates a decadal growth rate of 41% for the elderly population in India.
- It predicts that by 2050, the elderly population will make up over 20% of India’s total population.
- By 2046, it is expected that the elderly population will surpass the population of children aged up to 15.
- More than 40% of India’s elderly population is in the poorest wealth quintile, and around 18.7% of them live without any income.
- This high level of poverty among the elderly can negatively impact their quality of life and their ability to access healthcare services.
- The report highlights gender disparities in life expectancy among the elderly.
- Women, on average, have a higher life expectancy at the ages of 60 and 80 compared to men.
- This is a trend seen across several states and union territories in India.
- There are significant regional variations in the absolute levels and growth of the elderly population.
- States in the southern region and select northern states like Himachal Pradesh and Punjab report a higher share of the elderly population than the national average.
- In contrast, states with higher fertility rates and slower demographic transitions like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh will see an increase in the share of the elderly population but at a lower level than the national average.
Feminization and Ruralisation of Elderly Population
- The report notes that major challenges facing India’s ageing population include the feminization (a higher proportion of elderly women) and ruralization (concentration of elderly population in rural areas) of this demographic group.
- This calls for policies tailored to meet the specific needs of elderly women, who are more likely to be widowed, living alone, and dependent on family support.
Sex Ratio Among the Elderly
- The sex ratio (number of females per 1,000 males) among the elderly has been steadily increasing since 1991, indicating that women tend to outlive men in this age group.
- However, there are regional variations in this trend, with some areas still having more elderly men than women.
Old Age Dependency Ratios
- Different regions of India have varying old age dependency ratios, with the southern and western regions having higher ratios compared to central and northeastern regions.
- This reflects differences in the pace of demographic transition across states.
Global Ageing Trend
- The report also notes that increasing life expectancy and declining fertility rates are contributing to a global trend of ageing populations.
- This trend is not unique to India but is observed worldwide, which will have implications for countries across the globe.
Gender Ratio among the Elderly
- The gender ratio among the elderly is changing, with an increasing number of elderly women compared to men.
- This trend is expected to continue, with a projected increase in the number of elderly women relative to men by 2031.
Source – PIB, The Hindu
Global Innovation Index
Why in news?
India retains 40th rank out of 132 economies in the Global Innovation Index 2023 rankings published by the World Intellectual Property Organization
What is the Global Innovation Index?
- The Global Innovation Index, which is published annually, has been a leading reference for measuring an economy’s innovation performance.
- A large number of countries use the GII to assess and improve their innovation ecosystems and use the GII as a reference in economic plans and/or policies.
- The GII has also been recognized by the UN Economic and Social Council in its 2019 resolution on Science, Technology and Innovation for Development as an authoritative benchmark for measuring innovation in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Indicators of the index:
- Parameters for computing the index include ‘institutions’, ‘human capital and research’, ‘infrastructure’, ‘market sophistication’, ‘business sophistication’, ‘knowledge and technology outputs’ and ‘create outputs’.
What are the Related Initiatives for Innovation in India?
- India embarked on the ‘Digital India’ journey in 2015 and have set up a goal of a trillion-dollar digital economy in the next few years.
- Digital technologies are used in several areas, including mapping capital assets using GIS technology and revolutionizing payments through Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
- In fact, 40% of global real-time digital transactions happened in India in 2021.
National Education Policy 2020:
- To further strengthen innovation, the National Education Policy was introduced which promoted the spirit of enquiry by setting up incubation & technology development centers.
- Atal Tinkering Labs:
- Over 9000 Atal Tinkering Labs encourage youth to develop solutions to society’s problems.
Structural Reforms in IPR:
- India has taken up structural reforms to strengthen its Intellectual property rights (IPR) regime including modernization of IP offices, reducing legal compliances and facilitating IP filing for start-ups, women entrepreneurs, the small industries and others.
- Domestic filing of Patents registered a 46% growth in the last 5 years.
What is WIPO?
- WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information and cooperation.
- It is a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 193 member states.
- Its aim is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international IP system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.
- Its mandate, governing bodies and procedures are set out in the WIPO Convention, which established WIPO in 1967.
Source – PIB, Indian Express
Why in news?
Esports officially debuted as an official event at the Asian Games 2023 (in Hangzhou, China), featuring seven top titles, including League of Legends, and involving teams from over 30 countries
Path to recognition:
- The President of India amended the regulations governing eSports and requested that the Sports Ministry and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology include “eSports in multi-sport events.”
- The President is empowered under Article 77 (3) of the Constitution to make rules for the more convenient transaction of the business of the Government of India, and for the allocation among Ministers of the said business.
- According to a gazette notification, E-Sports will now be a part of the “multisports event” category in India.
What is E-Sports?
- Esports (Electronic Sports) is a competitive sport where gamers use their physical and mental abilities to compete in various games in a virtual, electronic environment.
- Example: Counter Strike, League of Legends, Overwatch, Fortnite, DOTA 2.
- There had been a growing demand for Esports to be included in the curriculum of multi-discipline events after it was included in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.
- This, however, boosted E-sport enthusiasts and has come as a shot in the arm for Esports enthusiasts in India.
- India won a bronze medal in 2018 Asian Games, where esports was included as a demonstration title.
- It has received its sporting recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which is the apex body of sports along with Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), Commonwealth Games etc.
- IOC organized Virtual Olympic Series (Esports Tournament), before the Tokyo Olympics 2020;
- Esports has been included in OCA events since 2007. Esports is a medal sports in Asian Games 2022.
- In a similar effort to popularize e-Sport, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that Singapore will host the inaugural Olympic Esports Week in June, 2023.
- Department of Sports under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
- While ‘Online Gaming’ will be overseen by MEITY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology).
Recognition of E-Sport as a Sport:
- By now, countries such as the US, Finland, and even the somewhat reticent Germany have acknowledged esports as a sport.
- The very first few nations (along with South Korea) to recognise esports as a sport were China and South Africa. Russia, Italy, Denmark, and Nepal have also joined.
- Ukraine officially recognized esports as a sport in September of 2020.
Source – Indian Express
Concerns for Aadhaar in India
Why In News?
Recently, In the midst of India’s extensive digital infrastructure development, Moody’s report “Decentralized Finance and Digital Assets” has underscored that the world’s largest digital identification program frequently denies services to users.
The report raises concerns about the dependability of biometric technology, while also sounding a warning about potential privacy and security risks.
What are the Key Highlights of Moody’s Report?
Privacy and Security Concerns:
- The rating agency termed Aadhaar, and a new crypto-based digital identity token called Worldline, as two digital ID systems in the world that stand out due to their scale and extent of innovation.
- However, they have “drawn scrutiny, especially concerning privacy and security”.
- Aadhaar leads to the concentration of sensitive information with specific entities and increases the risks of data breaches.
Biometric Authentication Concerns:
- The Rating Agency remarked in its report about the government’s adoption of Aadhaar for routing Direct Benefit Transfers to beneficiaries of welfare schemes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) etc, which is hindering their effective Implementation.
- Aadhaar biometric faces hurdles, including the burden of establishing authorization and concerns about biometric reliability.
- Aadhaar system enables access to public and private services, with verification via fingerprint or iris scans and alternatives like One-Time Passcodes (OTPs).
Concerns Related to Service Denials:
- The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) administers Aadhaar, aiming to integrate marginalized groups and expand welfare benefits access.
- The system often results in service denials, and the reliability of biometric technologies, especially for manual labourers in hot, humid climates, is questionable.
Issues Related to Centralisation of Data:
- Moody’s made a pitch for decentralized ID (DID) systems such as digital wallets, based on blockchain capabilities that give users more control of their private data and can reduce online fraud.
What is the Government’s Response to Moody’s report?
Recognition by International Agencies:
- Government held that a number of international agencies, including the IMF and the World Bank, have lauded Aadhaar and several nations have also engaged with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to understand how they may deploy similar digital ID systems.
Facilitation of Schemes like MGNREGA:
- Government said that authors of the report are unaware that the seeding of Aadhaar in the MGNREGS database has been done without requiring the worker to authenticate using their biometrics.
Advantages of Direct Benefit Transfer:
- Government stressed that even payment to workers under the scheme is made by directly crediting money into their account and does not require the worker to authenticate using their biometrics.
What are the Decentralized Systems?
- In a centralized system, a single entity such as a bank, social media platform or government electoral roll controls and manages a user’s identifying credentials and their access to online resources.
- Managing entity can dispose of the user’s identity data for internal or third-party profiling purposes.
- However, the adoption of DID — where personal data is saved in a user’s digital wallet and identity verification takes place not via a single, centralized institution but on a decentralized digital ledger such as a blockchain.
- It increases privacy and reduces the amount of personal information held by intermediaries.
- It can be stored and managed in a user’s portable and reusable digital wallet, rather than by a government, business, employer, or other entity.
What are the Challenges Related to Decentralised ID Systems?
- Digital IDs, centralized or not, can have negative social repercussions, since they may strengthen group identities and political divides, particularly if offered by technology and social media companies with significant monopolistic influence.
- Consolidation of control within these entities could lead to a concentration of power over individual identities, shaping perceptions and interactions in the digital realm.
- Further polarization of group identities and political affiliations would undermine the goal of a united and diverse digital space.
Source: The Hindu