1. UN Report on the Impact of Covid-19 on Children

Why in News

According to the recently released UN Report on the Impact of Covid-19 on Children, almost 24 million children could drop out or not have access to school next year due to the economic impact of Covid-19.

Key Points

  • Impact: The Covid-19 pandemic will impact the children all over the world in multiple ways:
  • Economic: An estimated 42-66 million children could fall into extreme poverty as a result of pandemic
  • The economic loss might reach 16,000 USD of lost earnings over a student’s lifetime, translating over time into 10 trillion USD of lost earnings globally.
  • Learning: 188 countries have imposed countrywide school closures, affecting more than 5 billion children and youth.
  • More than two-thirds of countries have introduced a national distance learning platform, but among low-income countries the share of distance learning is only 30%.
  • Online learning is not accessible for poor children, children from remote and conflict areas and children with disabilities.
  • Survival: Economic hardship experienced by families as a result of the global economic downturn could result in hundreds of thousands of additional child deaths in 2020,
  • This will reverse the last 2 to 3 years of progress in reducing infant mortality within a single year.
  • Health: Rising malnutrition is expected as 368.5 million children across 143 countries rely on school meals for a reliable source of daily nutrition.


  • There is a reduced access to essential reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health interventions.


  • Suspension of all polio vaccination campaigns worldwide and measles immunization campaigns in at least 23 countries will set back the decades-long effort to eliminate these diseases.


  • Safety: Lockdowns and shelter in place measures come with heightened risk of children witnessing or suffering violence and abuse.


  • Children’s reliance on online platforms for distance learning has also increased their risk of exposure to inappropriate content and online predators.


  • Susceptibility to child marriage, early pregnancy and gender based violence will also increase.


  • Uneven Distribution of Impact: The Covid-19 Pandemic has increased the existing socioeconomic disparities.


  • During the second quarter of 2020, 86% of children at the primary level have been effectively out of school in poor countries, compared to just 20% in highly developed countries.
  • The Covid-19 crisis is likely to increase the financing gap between education budgets and the money available to reach the Sustainable Development Goal of quality education by up to one-third.
  • Apart from the poor children, other vulnerable groups of children like migrants, the displaced, refugees, minorities, slum-dwellers, children living with disabilities, children living in refugee settlements, and children in institutions are likely to face a more severe impact.
  • The impact of Covid-19 is going to be more damaging for girls than boys, widening gender inequality.
  • Earlier this year, the Global Education Monitoring Report, 2020 was released by UNESCO which highlighted that the Covid-19 had worsened the inequalities in education systems worldwide.


  • Immediate rollout or expansion of social assistance to families, preferably through the use of universal child grants to prevent extreme poverty.
  • Securing food supply chains and local food markets, to protect children from a food security crisis.
  • Urgent adaptation of standard physical distancing and lockdown strategies in low-income and high population density settings.
  • Prioritizing the continuity of child-centred services, schooling, nutrition programmes, immunization and other maternal and newborn care, and community based child protection programmes with a particular focus on equity of access.
  • Putting in place specific protections for vulnerable children. Providing practical support to parents and caregivers to support the mental health and learning of the children.
  • Ensuring that children, adolescents and young people have access to Covid- 19 testing, treatment and vaccines as and when they become available.

Way Forward

  • To avoid the outcome of the pandemic, progress on three fronts is required : Information, Solidarity and
  • It is critical that education is at the heart of international solidarity efforts, from debt management and stimulus packages to global humanitarian appeals and official development assistance.





  1. Pakistan’s New Map

Why in News

Recently, Pakistan has released a new political map that includes all of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Sir Creek and Junagadh.

  • The map has been released on the eve of the first anniversary of the abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.

Key Points

  • The Map: The map depicts entire Jammu & Kashmir as a disputed territory and does not show any borders in the east of Kashmir.
  • It has also renamed Kashmir Highway in Islamabad as Srinagar Highway.
  • It claims the Siachen, regions of Sir Creek and the erstwhile state of Junagadh in Gujarat as part of Pakistan’s territory.
  • This is not the first time Pakistan has tried to portray Junagadh as part of its territory. The 2012 Atlas of Pakistan also portrayed Junagadh as a Pakistan’s territory.
  • The map also shows the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) as being part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

India’s Response:

  • India has called Pakistan’s move as an exercise in political absurdity, which lays untenable claims to the Indian territories.

Concerns for India:

  • This is the second time in the recent past where India’s neighbouring country has published a new map claiming India’s territories. Nepal was the first country to do so.
  • Nepal published its news map claiming the territories of the Kalapani region.
  • Recently, China also changed the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the western sector in its favour.

Sir Creek

  • It is a 96 km long strip of water disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands.
  • The dispute lies in the interpretation of the maritime boundary line between Kutch and Sindh.
  • India insists the Sir Creek should be divided between the two countries according to thalweg principle. Under international law, a thalweg is the middle of the primary navigable channel of a waterway that defines the boundary line between states.
  • The International Boundary in the Sir Creek area and International Maritime Boundary line (IMBL) between India and Pakistan have not been demarcated.

Siachen Glacier

  • The Siachen Glacier is part of Ladakh which has now been converted into a Union Territory. It is the Second-Longest glacier in the World’s Non-Polar areas.
  • It is located in the Eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas, just northeast of Point NJ9842 where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends.
  • Karakoram sometimes called the “Third Pole”. It is the world’s highest battlefield.


  • The Federally Administered Tribal Areas was a semi-autonomous tribal region in northwestern Pakistan that existed from 1947. In 2018 it was merged with the neighboring province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Way Forward

  • Over the last one year, Pakistan has made several attempts to raise the change in Jammu and Kashmir’s status from a state to a union territory at several international forums but hasn’t been able to get much traction. Further, with Pakistan, India continues to maintain that terror and talks cannot go hand-in-hand.
  • With Nepal turning hostile, Sri Lanka tilted towards China, Bangladesh miffed over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and India out of Iran’s Chabahar railway link project (which India was to have constructed), there is a relative decline in India’s sphere of influence, especially in its neighbourhood and the extended neighbourhood. This demands a deeper examination of the foreign policy.




  1. Expansion of Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme

Why in News

Recently, the government has expanded its Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) to cover loans given to larger firms as well as to self-employed people and professionals who have taken loans for business purposes.

  • ECLGS was rolled out in May 2020 as part of the Centre’s Aatmanirbhar package in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The objective was to support small businesses struggling to meet their operational liabilities due to the imposition of a nationwide lockdown.

Key Points

The ECLGS provides for the Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) facility. The GECL is a loan for which 100% guarantee is provided by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company (NCGTC) to Member Lending Institutions (MLIs) – banks, financial institutions and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs).

  • The loans are extended in the form of additional working capital term loan facility in case of banks and additional term loan facility in case of NBFCs to eligible Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)/business enterprises and interested Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) borrowers. First-time borrowers and Non-Performing Asset (NPA) accounts cannot raise funds under the scheme.
  • The tenor of loans provided under the GECL facility is four years from the date of disbursement.
  • A moratorium period of one year on the principal amount is provided. Interest rates of banks and financial institutions have been capped at 9.25% per annum, while NBFCs can lend at a maximum of 14% per annum.
  • The Scheme is applicable to all loans sanctioned under the GECL facility during the period from, 23 May 2020 to 31 October, 2020, or till an amount of Rs. 3 lakh crore is sanctioned under GECL, whichever is earlier.

The scheme has been expanded to cover:

  • Enterprises with a turnover up to Rs. 250 crore with outstanding loans up to Rs. 50 crore (as on 29 February, 2020).
  • The expansion of the limits has increased the maximum amount of loans that can be availed under the Scheme to Rs. 10 crore (20% of 50 crore) from Rs. 5 crore (20% of 25 crore).
  • Individual beneficiaries including both professionals such as doctors, lawyers and chartered accountants, as well as self-employed people such as vendors or taxi drivers.
  • The changes in the ECLGS scheme are likely to make an additional Rs 1 lakh crore eligible.
  • Till now, a total of around 1.37 lakh crore has been sanctioned under the scheme by member lending institutions to around 40 lakh accounts, of which around Rs 87,000 crore has been disbursed.

National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd

  • NCGTC is a private limited company incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 in 2014, established by the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, as a wholly owned company of the Government of India, to act as a common trustee company for multiple credit guarantee funds.
  • Credit guarantee programmes are designed to share the lending risk of the lenders and in turn, facilitate access to finance for the prospective borrowers.


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