The Indian Express

 Head LineFailing the girl students

1) Mains Paper II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


  • The Supaul incident of thrashing girl students in their school highlights the decline of the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya — an education scheme that has waited in vain for a long-term policy to guide its progress.

Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya:

  • The Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) scheme forms a glorious chapter of SSA.
  • Residential schools like this one were set up all over India under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
  • The purpose of setting up these schools was to give rural girls who had dropped out of school before ending the primary stage a second chance.
  • Instead of asking them to go through the primary stage again, Kasturba schools offer a full-time residential opportunity to start at grade 6 level and finish grade 8 when everyone else does.
  • Despite extremely modest financial support, KGBVs have been doing remarkably well, in terms of retaining the girls they admit from marginalised sections, including the Schedule Castes, Scheduled Tribes, the minorities and upper castes below the poverty line.

Problems faced by KGBV:

  • The larger umbrella of SSA i.e. KGBV has been shrinking, both financially and spirit-wise.
  • Lack of motivation and adequate funds to keep up with inflation cannot be compensated by the supply of smart boards and digital devices announced recently.
  • Compromised provision for basic needs like food, healthcare and security has restrained the progress of many KGBVs, especially in northern India.
  • Poorly trained staff and vulnerability of employment have also enfeebled the scheme.
  • All over northern India, the structures created under SSA, including KGBVs, carry a ramshackle look.

Failure of RTE:

  • If RTE is fully implemented, there will be no “drop-outs”, hence there shall be no need for KGBVs.
  • It is clear by now that RTE will continue to face chronic inadequacy of funds.
  • It is also facing sloth and apathy of the old directorates of education in many states.



Head Line: We have failed our children

2) Mains Paper II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.



·        While ‘Right to Education’ vastly expanded enrolment of children, not enough attention was paid to the quality of the schools, the teachers and the instruction.

  • Approximately 49 crore children born and living in India who can claim a birth year in the 21st century.

World Development Report 2019:

  • The World Bank publishes the World Development Report every year.
  • The Human Capital Index (HCI) is part of the annual report.
  • It is a measure of “the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by age 18”.


HCI calculation & India’s position:

  • The index is measured in terms of the productivity of the next generation of workers relative to the benchmark of the complete education and full health.
  • An economy in which a child born today can expect to achieve complete education and full health will score a value of 1 on the index.
  • India’s HCI is 0.44 and rank is 115.
  • That places India in the bottom third of the world.


Factors behind India’s poor performance:

  • HCI is based on six factors, each getting a score.
  • In the case of India, given the average household income, the probability of a child surviving to the age of 5 is satisfactory at 0.96.
  • The adult survival rate is reasonable at 0.83.
  • What pulls India down are the ‘Learning adjusted years of school’ and ‘Fraction of children under 5 not stunted’.
  • The score on the former is 5.8 years at school. On the latter, it is 0.62, meaning that 38 per cent of children under 5 years of age have a low height-for-age.


Reasons behind India’s poor performance:

  • Poor design, faulty implementation and inadequate allocation of funds are the main reasons.
  • While ‘Right to Education’ vastly expanded enrolment of children, not enough attention was paid to the quality of the schools, the teachers and the instruction.
  • Likewise, anganwadis and ‘Right to Food Security’ were necessary interventions, but they have failed to provide sufficient food to pregnant and lactating mothers and to children during their first five years.


Connecting HCI & Global Hunger Index:

  • The HCI must be read along with the Global Hunger Index (GHI) published by Deutsche Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.
  • One out of seven children in India is undernourished; two out of five are stunted (low height-for-age), and one out of five is wasted (low weight-for-height).
  • The cause is undernutrition.
  • On the one hand, we have mountains of wheat and paddy and, on the other, we are unable to provide enough food to each child.


Way forward:

  • MGNREGA and the Right to Food Security law were created to overcome this situation.
  • Due to the neglect of these legislations, the result is low HCI, high GHI (score 31.1, indicating ‘serious hunger’) and a low rank of 139 among 189 countries in the Human Development Index.
  • The focus should again be shifted on them to ensure that these interventions provide the expected outcomes.




Head Line: |FactCheck | Mission MeRcury: How will twin probes reach there, and why?

3) Mains Paper III: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, biotechnology

Why in news:

·        On Saturday, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully sent two probes on a joint mission to Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun.



The Launch: 

  • An Ariane 5 rocket, launched from French Guyana, lifted an unmanned spacecraft, BepiColombo, which is carrying the two probes.
  • The spacecraft separated and went into orbit for the 7-year trip to Mercury.


The Mission: 

  • It is the first European mission to Mercury, and the first to send two spacecraft to make complementary measurements of the planet and its environment at the same time.
  • The orbiters are ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO, or ‘Mio’).
  • The ESA-built Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) will carry the orbiters to Mercury using a combination of solar electric propulsion and gravity assist flybys, with one flyby of Earth, two at Venus, and six at Mercury, before entering orbit at Mercury in late 2025.


Venus en Route: 

  • The two orbiters will be able to operate some of their instruments during the cruise phase, to try and collect data at Venus.
  • Moreover, some of the instruments designed to study Mercury in a particular way can be used in a completely different way at Venus, which has a thicker atmosphere.



  • A few months before reaching Mercury, the transfer module will be jettisoned, leaving the two science orbiters to be captured by Mercury’s gravity.
  • MPO will separate and descend to its own orbit. Together the orbiters will make measurements.



  • The Sun’s enormous gravity makes it difficult to place a spacecraft into a stable orbit around Mercury.
  • The mission will have to ensure a controlled fall.
  • The spacecraft has been specially designed for extreme temperatures.





The Hindu

The Hindu