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Lithium Finding in India

GS Paper I

Context: For the first time, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) discovered lithium deposits in Jammu & Kashmir. The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has discovered “inferred” lithium deposits of 5.9 million tonnes in the Salal-Haimana region of Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi District.

What are ‘Inferred’ Resources?

Mineral resources are classified as inferred, indicated, or measured in the order of increasing geological confidence.

An inferred mineral resource is one for which the amount, grade (or quality), and mineral composition can only be calculated with a high degree of certainty. It is inferred and presumed from geological data but not geologically proved.

Stages of Geological Exploration for Lithium:

The recent finding of resources in preliminary exploration, known as the G3 stage, has been classified by the Geological Survey of India (GSI).

The United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) classifies mineral deposits into four stages of exploration: reconnaissance (G4), preliminary exploration (G3), general exploration (G2), and detailed investigation (G3) (G1).

The G4 stage is normally when the mineral extraction process begins.

Significance of Findings:

Lithium, popularly known as “white gold,” is a crucial metal having the following applications for India.

With the present government’s emphasis, EVs are predicted to account for roughly three-fourths of Indian two-wheelers by 2030, and all new automobiles are expected to be EVs. In the near future, the bulk of them will need to be powered by lithium-ion battery packs.

Mitigation of climate change: Technologies such as lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen fuel cells are projected to play a vital part in India’s ambition to lower its carbon footprint by 33-35% from 2005 levels by 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2070.

The success of the transition from a combustion vehicle to an electric car is dependent on the battery, which accounts for at least 30% of the vehicle’s cost. India’s need for these vital resources has increased sixfold in the last five years as it strives to become a global powerhouse for electronic and solar production.

Energy security: The Central Electricity Authority estimates that the country would require 27 GW of grid-scale energy storage devices by 2030. This will need a high dose of lithium.

Economy: As many government programmes such as PLI focus on electronics and semiconductors. The availability of lithium resources can aid in the establishment of end-to-end supply chains.

It also cuts imports and increases job possibilities. Currently, the nation imports all of its lithium requirements. India relied significantly on Hong Kong and China for its Lithium needs.

Global reserves of Lithium:

The majority of the reserves identified so far have been located in Chile, Australia, Argentina, Bolivia, and China.

Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile account for 54% of the world’s lithium deposits. The region is known as the “Lithium Triangle,” and it is concentrated in numerous salt pans in the Atacama Desert and other dry regions.

Other Potential sources of Lithium in India:

Lithium may be recovered from brines in Rajasthan’s Sambhar and Pachpadra districts, as well as Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch.

Other prospective geological domains of the nation include the large mica belts of Rajasthan, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh, as well as pegmatite belts in Odisha and Chhattisgarh, as well as rock mining in Mandya, Karnataka.

Concerns related to recent findings in J&K:

The new discovery is classed as “inferred”. The “inferred” mineral resource is the portion of a resource for which the amount, grade, and mineral composition can only be determined with a high degree of certainty.

Inferred lithium deposits in J&K are also limited, given that known reserves in Bolivia are 21 million tonnes, 17 million tonnes in Argentina, 6.3 million tonnes in Australia, and 4.5 million tonnes in China.

There are additional environmental hazards involved with such extractions that must be properly addressed.

Source – The Hindu


India’s urban centers are ailing due to lack of funds

GS Paper I & II

Context: In India, municipal finances are in bad shape. Revenue losses occurred with the installation of GST, and the epidemic has exacerbated the situation.

What is the scenario of urban financing in India?

According to the RBI, at least 141 municipal corporations suffered a significant decrease in revenue in FY21. A revenue deficit of more than 25% is anticipated.

The expense increased by more than 75%.

The predicted rise in property taxes was reduced by around 11%, while municipal fees were reduced by 50%.

Raising municipal income is difficult. According to the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, urban local governments’ own revenue accounts for just 47% of their overall revenue. Property taxes account for around 29% of it.

The majority of ULBs were reliant on transfers from the federal and state governments.

The difficulty of urban financing is enormous. According to World Bank estimates, India would need to invest $840 billion in urban infrastructure over the next 15 years.

What are the impacts of lack of urban financing?

As a result, crucial services have been curtailed. In most situations, sewerage services have been impacted by 55-71%.

Other consequences include delayed wage and pension payments, as well as a deterioration in general city maintenance.

Way forward:

To bridge the gap, we need a multi-pronged strategy.

Many urban local governments and municipal corporations require financial assistance. The disbursement of foreign funding from the state and the Centre is a source of worry.

The CAG’s performance assessment in September 2020 revealed a savings of over Rs 5,000 crore owing to non-disbursement of funds in Karnataka. Karnataka’s urban local bodies had postponed payouts.

This must change. States and the Centre must work together to guarantee that payments are made on schedule.

Additional financing should be investigated. Consider establishing a revolving fund to provide fiscal stabilisation measures. In addition, when income and fiscal transfers are delayed, the granting of an overdraft facility may be considered.

Green bonds, as well as a combined corpus fund supported by the Centre and states, must be pushed.

Property taxes must also be rationalised. It may be enhanced by updating current databases, employing digital techniques to appraise properties, and enforcing taxes on non-compliants and defaulters.

Concessions must be rationalised. State and municipal governments should be encouraged to abandon economically disastrous policies.

Expenditure efficiency must be improved through pushing for service outsourcing and investigating PPP models, as well as participatory budgeting.

The Centre might broaden the incentives provided to states through interest-free capex loans to include areas of urban development such as drafting building codes, advocating for public transportation, and promoting mixed-use developments.

Innovative finance strategies are possible. These include asset monetisation and funding from the creation of carbon credits.

Civic engagement will be essential. A push should be made for user fees for public service delivery. Levies such as improvement fees, impact fees, and tax increment financing should be investigated for capital expenditure demands.

Source – The Hindu

Gender Budgeting

GS Paper II

Context:The recent Budget 2023-24 includes a small increase in funding for the WCD Ministry for Women.

What is Gender Budgeting?

The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) defines gender budgeting as a mechanism for achieving gender mainstreaming and ensuring that development benefits women and men equally.

Every year, along with the Union Budget, the government releases a Gender Budget Statement (GBS) to examine programmes from a gender perspective and offer information on allocations for women.

Rather than developing a distinct budget for women, it is gender analysis of the budget.

The purpose is to assess the budget’s gender effect and match it with gender commitments.

Women gain more than males from schemes such as Nal se Jal (piped water delivery), Ujjwala Yojana (cooking fuel), and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (toilet construction).

Important Facts:

The Gender Budget allocation increased by 23% from 2022-23 to 2,23,219.75 crore in 2023-24, from 1,71,006.47 crore to 2,23,219.75 crore.

The gender component accounted for 4.9% of the total Budget in 2022-23, up from 4.23% in 2022-23.

The budget for the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development increased by 1%.

Rural Development, Women and Child Development, Agriculture, Health and Family Welfare, and Education account for over 90% of gender budgeting.

Transportation, water collection, and security are among the critical sectors that require attention.

Mission Shakti funding, which covers vital women’s protection programmes, was cut by 1.2%.

Part A of the Gender Budget, which includes allocations for women-only programmes, increased by 70% over previous year.

The majority of this increase went to the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana rural housing project, whose inclusion in the Gender Budget has been questioned because it does not benefit only women.

In addition, the Union Budget unveiled a new modest savings programme for women called the Mahila Samman Savings Certificate, which will enable a deposit of up to?2 lakh for two years at a set interest rate of 7.5%.

Previously, in 2015, the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) published a Handbook on Gender Budgeting, which gives comprehensive instructions for implementing GRB in practise.

Mission Shakti:

The Government of India launched “Mission Shakti,” an integrated women empowerment program.

It is an integrated women empowerment programme as an umbrella scheme for the safety, security and empowerment of women for implementation during the 15th  Finance Commission period 202l-22 to 2025-26.

The norms of ‘Mission Shakti’ will be applicable with effect from 01.04.2022.

It has two sub-schemes:

“Sambal” or One Stop Centre (OSC)

“Samarthya” or SwadharGreh which is now a part of Shakti Sadan

Importance of Gender Budgeting:

Transparency and accountability in government budgeting procedures are promoted.

Addresses ongoing gender inequality and women’s empowerment gaps.

Ensures that resources are allocated to meet unique needs and issues encountered by women and girls.

Supports gender equality and women’s empowerment, which are critical for long-term development.

Challenges of Gender Budgeting:

There is a scarcity of data and information on the gender implications of government policies and activities.

Resistance to change and a misunderstanding of the significance of gender budgeting.

Lack of political will and resources to successfully implement gender budgeting.

Integration of gender issues into complicated budget procedures and decision-making systems is difficult.

Source – The Hindu

Urban20 (U20)

GS Paper II

Context: On February 9-10, 2023, Ahmedabad hosted the opening City Sherpa meeting of the sixth Urban20 (U20) cycle.

Priority areas for the Urban 20 event:

Encouraging environmentally responsible behaviors,

Ensuring water security,

Accelerating climate finance,

Championing ‘local’ identity,

Reinventing frameworks for urban governance and planning, and

Catalysing digital urban futures.

About U20:

The U20 is a consortium of cities from the G20 nations that met for the first time in Buenos Aires in 2018.

The U20 brings together mayors from G20 cities under a single framework and organises a joint viewpoint to inform national leaders’ deliberations.

The U20’s contributions are shared with the G20 Presidency and Heads of State, increasing cities’ position as global economic and political leaders.


The U20 assembles a group of Participating Cities.

These cities, which are made up of significant C40 and UCLG member cities from G20 countries, are key economic or demographic centres.

Cities in the C40: C40 links 96 of the world’s most populous and significant cities, representing 700 million people and one-quarter of the global economy.

United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG): UCLG is a global organisation that represents and defends the interests of local and regional governments and their organisations on a global scale.

The UCLG network encompasses 70% of the global population and is present in all geographical regions.


Create a platform for urban centres, in partnership with worldwide networks of local governments, to be shared with G20 leaders.

Enrich the G20 agenda by identifying synergies and bringing new insights and best practises from cities.

Present a statement that uses current G20 policy recommendations and international frameworks, as well as ideas from cities, to propose cooperative solutions to improve climate action and sustainable economic growth.

Invite G20 members to include critical or urgent urban issues that require synergistic responses with national governments from the short to the long term in each yearly debate.

Source – Indian Express

 Menstrual health hygiene and sexual and reproductive health

GS Paper II

Context: Maternal mortality rates remain high in low- and middle-income nations, accounting for 94% of all instances. In India, the maternal death rate is 113 per 100,000 live births; the government hopes to lower the rate to less than 70 by 2030. Experts believe that one of the solutions to solving this major burden is to promote sexual and reproductive health (SRH). Achieving global SRH objectives, in turn, is heavily reliant on a communal commitment to improving menstrual health and cleanliness (MHH).

Challenges for Menstrual hygiene:

Individuals who menstruate have insufficient access to information and services on SRH and are unable to exercise their SRH rights throughout their life cycle, according to the harsh reality. Poor economic and educational achievements are among the causes of this lack of access.

For example, several studies in various developing countries have found that people with less schooling years are more likely to engage in early sexual initiation and early marriage, have greater fertility rates, and have lower mother outcomes.

Several obstacles impede the promotion of menstrual health and hygiene: Barriers include social and cultural standards that consider menstruation to be taboo, as well as biological and physiological concerns such as urinary tract infections and irregular urine bleeding caused by fibroids.

The vicious loop of low SRH: These difficulties limit menstruation persons’ agency in making decisions about sex, relationships, family planning, and contraception use. This reintroduces them into the vicious loop of poor SRH.

Inadequate privacy and dignity: Menstruation-related issues can be found in schools, workplaces, and communities where menstruation individuals are unable to handle their requirements in a private and dignified manner.

Taboos and myths: In certain societies, menstruation women are not allowed to worship, wash, sleep in the same bed as others, or prepare meals. In India, taboos and beliefs prevent the government’s more than 8,000 Adolescents-Friendly Health Clinics (AFHCs) from being used to their full potential.

Global Outlook:

Menstrual health is frequently overlooked in SRH agendas: Despite overwhelming evidence that menstruation health is an anchor of sexual and reproductive health, governments, legislators, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) seldom incorporate menstrual health in their SRH agendas.

Although SRH was the focus of both World Population Day and the Gender Equality Forum in 2021, little, if any, emphasis had been dedicated to menstruation health.

Menstrual health, for example, was not taken into account during vaccination: Early research also suggests that during the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccinations, menstrual health was not taken into account while performing pilot experiments to determine the vaccine’s effectiveness.

There is also a shortage of education: Menstrual health received minimal emphasis in a survey of education policy papers from 21 developing nations. In the last decade, the focus of those countries that appeared to have MHH on their health and education agenda was on the distribution of disposable sanitary pads, primarily for schoolgirls; they tended to ignore other issues related to menstrual health and hygiene, such as safety, disposal, the right to dignity, and providing choices to people who menstruate.

A Framework for mainstreaming menstrual health and hygiene in India:

Menstrual Health and Hygiene Education: Conversations about menstruation should begin in schools and communities by including menstrual health and hygiene into reproductive health workshops.

For example, the Indian government launched the Adolescent Education Program in 2007 to promote conversations about sexual education, but it was met with criticism from teachers and parents. Sociocultural concerns are very essential and should be addressed by stakeholders.

Knowledge about the items they use: Programs should be launched to distribute disposable sanitary pads to all girls and women, not just those in school. As the conversation around menstruation shifts towards sustainable menstruation, it is critical to provide menstruating women with information about the possible impact of the period products they use.

Gatekeepers must be made more aware: Organizing sensitization sessions for gatekeepers including teachers, healthcare personnel, and women in local communities will go a long way towards assisting young menstruating women. According to recent research, moms, teachers, and healthcare personnel are the primary sources of knowledge about menstruation for adolescent girls in India.

Creating supporting environments: To develop supportive settings, adolescent boys and men must be included in the MHH dialogue. These discussions will help children comprehend the significance of MHH and will drive changes in society norms, such as the removal of the shame associated with menstruation.

Conversations about menstruation must include trans and non-binary people: Menstruation is a fluid notion, with many women not menstruating while transmen, non-binary persons, and others with male gender identities do. Menstruation’s feminization has resulted in the exclusion of transgender and non-binary persons from the conversation.

Improving MHH infrastructure and WASH facilities: Workplace rules for menstruating employees, including suitable WASH facilities, should be established. There is a need to cooperate with multi-sector stakeholders to improve MHH infrastructure and WASH facilities.

Way forward:

Raising menstrual cycle awareness should be a priority for communities and politicians.

It is necessary to make SRH programming gender-transformative, beginning with recognising the relationship between MHH and SRH.

The work is critical because of the economic argument for sexual and reproductive health: improving SRH benefits a country’s economic, educational, and development results.

The UN High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) Action Plan for 2023, which emphasises the need to “leave no one behind” in global ambitions for universal health care, must prioritise menstrual health and hygiene on the SRH agenda.

According to 2011 Census statistics, around 0.5 million people in India self-identify as third gender[b]. There is a need to engage communities and educate them about the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as improve their SRH understanding, by examining the menstrual health discourse through the lens of inclusion.


Sexual and reproductive health agendas at the global and national levels continue to pay little attention to its relationship with menstruation health. Integrated attention to the linkages between MHH and SRH can promote both sectors’ mutual aims while also improving the health and well-being of menstruating women throughout their whole life cycle.

Source – Indian Express

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