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The Hindu Editorial

6-March-2024

1. Green jobs and the problem of gender disparity

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Issues related to development and employment Critical for UPSC as it addresses gender disparities in India’s green transition, aligning with sustainable development goals and social equity.
Context
  • This article highlights gender disparities in India’s green job sector, emphasizing the underrepresentation of women despite a growing emphasis on low-carbon development.
  • It outlines challenges, proposes solutions, and calls for inclusive strategies for women’s empowerment in the transition.
 Gender Disparities in Green Jobs:
  • Despite India’s 250% increase in renewable energy capacity (2015-2021), women constituted only 11% in the solar rooftop sector.
  • Traditional sectors like apparel, textile, and food have higher female representation, whereas industries like infrastructure and manufacturing are predominantly male-dominated.
Training and Social Norms:
  • A 2023 study revealed that 85% of green skills training was imparted to men, citing social norms as barriers for women.
  • Women face perceived unsuitability for technical roles, safety concerns, and limited representation in STEM subjects.
Short and Long-Term Benefits of Women’s Representation:
  • In the short run, increased women’s representation can address gender biases in the labour market and boost labour force participation rates.
  • In the long run, it contributes to women’s empowerment by creating economic, technical, and social opportunities.
Data Gaps and the Need for Mapping:
  • Limited data on women’s participation in green jobs necessitates mapping emerging areas for green growth.
  • Collecting sex-disaggregated data through periodic labor force surveys is crucial to understanding women’s roles in the green transition.
Global Context and COP 28 Initiatives:
  • Globally, women are lagging in climate targets and sustainability goals, prompting initiatives like COP 28’s ‘Gender-Responsive Just Transitions and Climate Action Partnership.’
  • Focus on improved data, targeted finance, and skill development in transition planning.
Education Gap and Bridging Disparities:
  • Despite 42.7% of STEM graduates being women, they represent only 30.8% in key sectors for green transition like engineering, manufacturing, and construction.
  • Urgent need for hands-on learning, mentorship, scholarships, and awareness generation to bridge this gap.
Financial Support for Women Entrepreneurs:
  • Gender-focused financial policies and products can empower women entrepreneurs to enter the green transition market.
  • Collateral-free lending, financial literacy training, and supportive networks are crucial for unlocking women’s potential.
Leadership Roles and Gender-Specific Needs:
  • Increasing women in leadership positions ensures the incorporation of gender-specific needs in low-carbon development strategies.
  • Calls for partnerships across government, private sector, and stakeholders for leveraging innovation, technology, and finance.
Comprehensive Gender-Just Transition Strategy:
  • Demands a multi-pronged strategy focusing on employment, social protection, reduced care work burden, and skill development.
  • Businesses urged to recognize the centrality of gender justice, mitigating barriers and fostering equitable job opportunities for an inclusive green transition.
  • Building capacity and supporting women in meeting the demands of the evolving world of work is crucial.
  • Advocates for a socially equitable and inclusive future pathway in the green job sector.
Conclusion:
  • In summary, addressing gender disparities in green jobs in India requires comprehensive strategies encompassing education, training, data collection, financial support, and leadership opportunities.
  • By focusing on these aspects, India can ensure a just and inclusive transition to a low-carbon economy, reaping the co-benefits of women’s empowerment and sustainable development.
Practice Question:  Examine the significance of addressing gender disparities in India’s green job transition for achieving sustainable development. (250 words/15 m)

2. The dynamics of household consumption

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy Critical for UPSC: HCES 2022-23 illuminates India’s economic dynamics, aiding in policy formulation and understanding socio-economic trends.
Context
  • The article discusses the release of India’s Household Consumption Expenditure Survey 2022-23, emphasizing its historical significance, methodological shifts, and economic insights.
  • It provides nuanced data on consumption patterns, reflecting the nation’s evolving socio-economic landscape.
 Survey Overview:
  • NSSO released the awaited HCES 2022-23, crucial as the last data on household consumption were from 2011-12.
  • Captures how Indian households spend on consumable items, aiding in constructing Consumer Price Indices.
Historical Significance:
  • Initiated in 1950-51, HCES played a vital role in estimating the head count ratio for poverty and contributed to economic and sociological research.
  • Integral in shaping India’s socio-economic landscape and understanding consumption patterns.
Impact of COVID-19:
  • Scheduled for 2020-21, delayed by the pandemic, the survey commenced in August 2022, reflecting resilience and adaptability.
  • The ongoing 2023-24 phase emphasizes capturing evolving household consumption patterns.
Methodological Shift:
  • Positive shift to computer-assisted personal interviews from traditional methods, enhancing efficiency.
  • Data entry through tablets expedited collection and processing, ensuring streamlined scrutiny.
Sample Size and Design:
  • Engaged 2,61,746 households strategically selected through statistically sound sampling.
  • Aligned with ‘New India,’ the survey included contemporary items and a three-part questionnaire for comprehensive coverage.
Modernization and Tradition:
  • Efficient data collection merged conventional and contemporary practices, imputing values for home-grown stock and social welfare program items.
  • Retained the age-old method while pioneering imputation for items from social welfare programs.
Economic Insights:
  • Average Monthly Per Capita Expenditure (MPCE) stands at ₹3,773 in rural and ₹6,459 in urban India.
  • With imputed values, figures rise to ₹3,860 and ₹6,521 respectively, providing nuanced economic insights.
Trends over Time:
  • Analysis from 1999-2000 to 2022-23 reveals shifts in MPCE composition.
  • Decline in the percentage share of expenditure on cereals, rise in spending on fresh fruits, processed foods, and non-food items.
Policy Implications:
  • HCES, a collaborative effort, stands as a reliable tool for shaping economic policies in New India.
  • The fact sheet, released within six months, offers key estimates with low relative standard errors at national and State levels.
Conclusion:
  • HCES 2022-23, combining historical significance with modernization, unveils detailed insights into India’s changing economic landscape.
  • A valuable resource for policymakers, researchers, and statisticians, contributing to informed decision-making in economic planning.
PYQ: In a given year in India, official poverty lines are higher in some States than in others because (2019)   (a) poverty rates vary from State to State (b) price levels vary from State to State (c) Gross State Product varies from State to State (d) quality of public distribution varies from State to State   Ans: (b)
Practice Question:  Examine the role of the Household Consumption Expenditure Survey 2022-23 in shaping economic policies and understanding evolving socio-economic patterns in India.  (150 words/10 m)

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