UPSC Mains Fact Sheet

UPSC Mains Fact Sheet

Fact sheet for use in UPSC Mains

Table of contents

Use these facts to improve your content for UPSC Mains answers, for any of the four general studies papers and even for your optional (selectively valid).

Sustainable development goals are great for introducing/concluding answers in UPSC Mains

SDG 1 - No poverty

  1. Oxfam report: 70% of wealth generated in 2018 taken by top 1%.
  2. World Bank defines extreme poverty as people living on less than $1.25/day.
  3. Confluence of poverty, hunger, disability and disease.
  4. Tendulkar committee says 22% of people BPL in 2012.
  5. UN: India lifted 270 million people out of poverty in a decade till 2016.

SDG 2 - Zero hunger

  1. Global Hunger Index - India at 94/107 nations. Dealing with acute hunger.
  2. India has 196 million hungry people. 22% of global burden of hunger.
  3. NFHS 4: 35% of all children in India underweight. NFHS 5 says worse now. Covid came after.
  4. UNDP: India is home to 50 million stunted children - 30% of global burden.
  5. UNDP: India is home to 20 million wasted children - 40% of the global burden.
  6. Studies: 15% of children are overweight or obese. 2nd largest incidence after China.
  7. Can link to aspirational district - aspirational age group.

Indian Problems

  1. Narrow food security based approach.
  2. Unbalanced diets with focus on cereals.
  3. Lack of adequate up to date data.
  4. Fiscal constraints. Under utilisation of allocated funds.
  5. Lack of nutrition awareness.
  6. Socio-cultural issues: SCs have a higher prevalence of hunger.


  1. Increasing awareness about nutrition. FSSAI awareness initiatives.
  2. Fortified foods like iodised salt and golden rice.
  3. Regular NFHS to ensure up to data stats.
  4. Improved sanitation and healthcare.
  5. Countering childhood obesity through fat tax initiatives.
  6. Nutrition dense foods in MDM scheme and ICDS.

SDG 3 - Good health and well being

  1. SRS data: MMR at 113. SDG target of below 70.
  2. Lancet data: U5MR at 42 per 1000. SDG target of 25.
  3. India Disease Burden Report: NCDs contribute to 60% of all deaths in India with cardiac diseases being the leader.
  4. India burdened with 486 mil Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in 2017. 17% of total available. 75% in rural areas.
  5. Gorakhpur hospital deaths due to negligence. 1500 children died in 2017.

SDG 4 - Quality education

  1. 95% enrollment in primary education. Higher education enrollment ratio of 26%.
  2. 14% have tertiary education as compared to 45% in OECD nations.
  3. ASER: Only 47% schools have drinking water provision.
  4. Education spending at 2.5% of GDP in 2019.
  5. 10% of India households have computer and 23% have internet facilities.
  6. EdTech startups, Byjus and Unacademy, are the largest in the world.
  7. MHRD came out with Alternative Academic Calendars for Covid.

SDG 5 - Gender equality

  1. Gender Inequality Index - 122/184. Gender Gap Index - 122/153.
  2. Eco survey: FLFPR in India at 25%. 52% difference between male and female LFPR.
  3. McKinsey: India's GDP could go up 16-60% if Indian women participated in the economy at par with men.
  4. NCRB data: Crimes against women went up by 7% in 2019. 87 rapes per day where 95% victims knew the perpetrator. Only 5% rapes are reported.
  5. NCRB: 70% of women are victims of domestic violence in India.
  6. 44% of women married before 18 in India.
  7. 14% of MPs are women with 48% population share. Women got voting rights in 1921.
  8. Oxfam report: women spent more than 5 hours a day in unpaid care work. Men spent 30 mins.
  9. Report found positive linkage between acceptability of domestic violence and unpaid care work. More acceptability leads to more work.
  10. Algorithmic hiring: the code that goes into the machine is the new law.
  11. Period poverty: Scotland made sanitary pads free through legislation.

SDG 6 - Clean water and sanitation

  1. Water Min: Water requirement is 55 lt per capita per day.
  2. 54% of India face high to extremely high water stress, affecting 500 million people.
  3. India has access to 4% of global water resources with 16% population. Virtual water export.
  4. Only 18% rural household have access to piped water.
  5. 75% India households don't have access to water on premises. Jal Jeevan Mission & FHTC.
  6. NITI aayog: 21 Indian cities (including Chennai Bengaluru Delhi) face Day Zero - groundwater running out. GW declining by 8cm/year in Northern plains.
  7. WEF: 51% people are exposed to unsafe drinking water.
  8. WEF: 200,000 people die in India due to lack of access to safe drinking water.
  9. Agriculture responsible for 80% of water usage.

Methods to tackle this

  1. De-salination
  2. Reuse
  3. reduced use and behvaioural change
  4. recycling and sell nutrient rich byproducts from wastewater treatment (China/US)
  5. GW augmentation
  6. Investing in grey and green water resources
  7. Drought Early Warning System deployed in 2019
  8. Net water metering in Delhi
  9. Bulk metering in Bengaluru
  10. Bhungroo in GJ - recharge well that draws excess storm water and recharges groundwater.
  11. TRISHNA Indo-French Satellite to monitor water table.
  12. CWMI by NITI Aayog.

SDG 7 - Affordable and clean energy

  1. 175 GW from renewable sources by 2022, aim to up this to 40% of total by 2030.
  2. Currently 23% installed capacity renewable. Additionally, 12% hydro and 2% nuclear.
  3. First year costs of solar projects as low as Rs. 2.9 per kWh in some areas.
  4. 3rd largest market worldwide. 17% CAGR of solar power installation capacity.
  5. 10% share of renewable energy in NIP till 2024. Fame Phase II.
  6. ICRA downgraded outlook of renewable energy sector to negative for 2020 in India.
  7. PM KUSUM to green agricultural energy. Promote farmer independence and reduce subsidy.
  8. IEA predicts peak oil demand to come by 2028.

SDG 8 - Decent work and economic growth

  1. IMF report: India will grow at 9% in 2021, 7.5% in 2022. Contracted 10% in 2020.
  2. Unemployment rate touched 5.4% in Dec 2020. LFPR is 50.4%. 500 million workers. Rural unemployment at 8% pre-covid.
  3. 2.5% of workforce has undergone skill training. (96% SK, 72% UK, 52% US, 25% China).
  4. India Skills Report: 57% engineering graduates employable right out of college. 47% graduates employable right out of college overall.
  5. Labour Min: 12 million people added to the workforce in 2019.
  6. EPFO: formal employment grew by 28% in 2019.
  7. NGO: 16 million women were victims of trafficking in India in 2016. NCRB: 6700 cases registered and 22% successfully prosecuted. GoI setting AHTUs and WHDs.
  8. 10 million child labourers in India. NCRB: 125% increase in from 2016 to 2017.
  9. Labour Min: 3 lakh people in debt bondage in India.
  10. WEF: India has 14 million migrant labour force. BiMaRU states contribute most.

SDG 9 - Industry, innovation and infrastructure

  1. NIP to spend 102 lakh crore over the next 5 years on Infra development.
    24% energy - 10% renewable
    18% roads
    17% urban development
    12% railways
  2. Sectors by GDP: 15, 23, 62.
  3. Sectors by employment: 42, 29, 29.
  4. Logistics cost in India is 14% of GDP. National Logistics Policy (Draft) aims to reduce this to 10%.
  5. Per capita bank credit was Rs. 73,500 in 2019.
  6. India has an economic complexity of 0.57 while SK has 2.17 and Japan 1.85. Denotes diversity of products. India is increasing, China is 0.89 and decreasing.
  7. India spends 0.7% of GDP on R&D. China spends 2% and SK spends 6%.
  8. India's national debt is 72% of GDP and Fiscal deficit stands at 3.5%.

SDG 10 - Reduced inequality

  1. Oxfam report: Top 1% took a share of 70% of income in 2018.
  2. Oxfam report: Bottom 50% took a share of 1% of income in 2018.
  3. 0.45 Gini coefficient in India, similar to US. High income inequality.
  4. Gender pay gap estimated at 24%.
  5. OECD: 7% impact on global GDP due to Covid. Will cut budgets for inclusive growth.
  6. Reduce transaction costs for remittances to <3%. Currently at 6%.
  7. Promotes special and differential treatment for developing countries.
  8. Bhagwati-Sen debate. Trickle down economics. Top down vs bottom up growth.

SDG 11 - Sustainable cities and communities

SENDAI Framework related to 11.5

  1. UN Habitat: 58% of S. Asian urban population lives in slums.
  2. Land consumption/population growth ratio should be close to 1 for sustainable growth.
  3. Delhi NCR had as much as 42% residents in slums. Carbon emission of 70 million tons/year.
  4. MoEF: 63% sewage treated.
  5. MoHUA: 53% of MSW treated. 62% source segregation.
  6. 3rd largest e-waste generator in the world. 30% CAGR. 2.4 kg per capita. World at 7.2 kgpc.
  7. MoEF: India produces 9.6 million tons of plastic waste. 40% remains uncollected.
  8. In 2019, 21 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world are Indian.
  9. India lost more than 2000 people in natural disasters in 2019. Economic loss of $13 Bn.
  10. Studies: Flooding events related to increased farmer suicides.

SDG 12 - Responsible consumption and production

  1. EU looking to tackle planned obsolescence to reduce waste. Right to repair should be a fundamental right.
  2. NITI A: strategy on resource efficiency. India consumed 7% of globally extracted raw materials in 2010. Power min: 22.3% ATC losses in India.
  3. Promoting use of secondary raw materials. Plastic waste rules. Circular economy.
  4. In 2015, India has a 32% lower energy intensity as compared to 2000. Decreased energy used per unit output.
  5. Water intensity of 0.461 as compared to 0.118 for APAC region. 4x water used/unit output.
  6. UN: 40% of food produced in India is wasted. 92k crore worth of food wasted every year.
  7. India coming up with National Resource Efficiency Policy.
Diagram for depicting sustainable growth in Mains GS2 or GS3 answers.

SDG 13 - Climate action

  1. IIT KGP: Climate change displaced 2.7 million Indians in 2019. Globally 200 million people will be impacted by 2050.
  2. Global Climate Risk Index - India 5/181. Economic losses rank 2/181.
  3. Since 2004, India has experienced 11 of the 15 warmest years in 120 years.
  4. Reports: India will overshoot its 40% renewable energy target to achieve 45%. At 38% in 2019.
  5. Harmonise Indian sustainable traditions with growth and consumption.
  6. Global GHG emission at 52 giga tons of CO2 equivalent. 7% drop due to Covid19.
  7. US, EU have adopted Net-Zero emission targets by 2050.
  8. Emission Gap Report: World headed for a 3.2 degree temperature rise as per current trends.
  9. Cultured meat as an alternative. Climate change implications of animal husbandry industry.
  10. 1 ton CO2 emitted in a 4 hour flight. E-diplomacy reducing GHG emissions.

SDG 14 - Life below water

  1. Ocean pH at 8.1. Dropped 0.1 in last 100 years which is 10 times faster than natural processes.
  2. Sustainable fishing: illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing as high as 30% in some areas.
  3. NFDB: Fisheries contributes 1% of India's GDP. Andhra contri 25% but mainly from inland.
  4. India has 25% non-motorised, 37% motorised and 37% mechanised fishing fleet.
  5. 50% of all mechanised boats in India are trawlers negatively impacting ecosystem production.
  6. Western coast accounts for 60% of all catch but showing a declining trend in recent years.

SDG 15 - Life on land

CBD & Aichi+ Targets

  1. India with 2.4% of land is home to 7-8% of all recorded species.
  2. Red List Index of species survival down to 0.73 in 2020 from 0.82 in 1990.
  3. Forest cover in India is 21.67% in 2019. Global forest area fell by 0.6% net loss of 100 million ha of forests.
  4. 56k crore available in CAMPA funds, unspent.
  5. 30% of land area in India is degraded by:
    over cultivation,
    soil erosion and
    depletion of wetlands.
  6. India has pledged to restore 1.5% of it's degraded land by 2030.
  7. Delhi Declaration on land degradation noted the link between restoration and job creation.
  8. Laser Land Levelers - reduces water usage by 35% with consequent saving of soil quality. Increases yield by up to 17%.

SDG 16 - Peace and Justice, Strong institutions

  1. Corruption perception index - India 80/180.
  2. Tax havens are secrecy jurisdictions. Low or no corporate tax and lmited public disclosure of information.
  3. WB: Good governance indicators - 111/193
  4. Conviction rate - 50% in 2019. Chargesheeting rate 67%.
  5. 43% MPs in 17th LS have criminal cases pending against them.
  6. 130 MPs in 16th LS came from some political lineage. Elite rule.
  7. Question hour functioned only 40% of the time in the 16th LS.
  8. India has 20 judges per million people.
  9. Total vacancy against sanctioned strength was 23% in 2019, 42% in HCs.
  10. Pending cases:
  11. SC - 64k
  12. HCs - 51 lakhs
  13. Lower courts - 3.4 crores. UP courts alone 81 lakhs.
  14. Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy: till 2016, 70 out of last 100 retired SC judges had taken up jobs in quasi-judicial bodies.
  15. India has close to 90% aadhaar saturation in 2020. Only 22% in 0-5 age group.

SDG 17 - Partnership in achieving the goals

  1. Asks developed nations to invest in LDCs and developing countries.
  2. Capacity building. Sustainable technology transfer.
  3. Remove trade barriers. Enhance availability of reliable data.
  4. The 17 business avengers. MNCs driving SDGs.
  5. Working to align core business with SDGs and public good.
  6. Nations have no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests.

Miscellaneous Stats


  1. India average land holding size is 1.08 ha. PB avg is 3.62 ha and BH avg holding is 0.6 ha.
  2. 40% of India's 500 million workforce is engaged in agri as per Agri census 2015.
  3. Ashok Gulati. Crop diversification can be used to reduce MSP dependence and boost farmer incomes.
  4. Agricultural science must be decentralised to leverage local environments effectively.
  5. MGNREGA uptake highest in last 5 years due to pandemic.
  6. Zero Budget Natural Farming
  7. PUSA and IARI came out with a bio-decomposer that helps manage paddy stubble.

Problems of Agriculture

Technological treadmill, increasing indebtedness, lack of marketing support and uneconomic holdings have made agriculture a losing proposition.

  1. Increasing number of labourers and declining cultivators.
  2. Avg landholding 1.08 ha and declining. 86% small and marginal unable to meet consumption expenses.
  3. NABARD Fin Inclusion Survey: Avg agri household income Rs. 9000, with only 35% coming from cultivation. 34% from other sources including wage labour.
  4. 52% agri households in India under debt. Avg debt of 47k. 120k in PB.
  5. Non-institutional sources account for 30% of all rural debt. Share of banks 54%.
  6. Rural unemployment at 8% pre-covid.
  7. NCRB: 14500 farmers commit suicide every year on average in the last 25 years. (22k married women)
  8. NAFIS: only 48% of rural households agricultural. De-agrarianisation of the rural areas.
  9. 65% agri work force are women. Women not recognised as farmers by govt as don't own land and excluded from benefits.
  10. Loss of species diversity in crops and livestock. Increased risk to pests.
  11. Negative impacts of chemical pesticides. Biomagnification. High rates of cancer in PB.
  12. Growing disease burden rising healthcare costs for households.
  13. Distorted cropping patterns due to MSP and subsidies.
  14. MNCs control 70% of inputs in seeds and chemicals.
  15. Local knowledge borrowed, added urban innovation and sold back to farmers.
  16. India has 20 agro climatic regions and yet research is highly centralised.

Food processing - locations, issues and future

  1. 37 food parks funded under Mega Food Parks scheme. 20 operational.
  2. 100% FDI allowed under automatic route.  100% FDI through govt route for trading.
  3. Agri exports account for 2% of GDP. Post harvest losses close to 90k crores.

Irrigation - types, cover, future

  1. India has the world's largest GW irrigation system. GW declining at 8cm/year in north.
  2. 47% of agri land reliably irrigated. 65% share of GW irrigation.
  3. PM Krishi Sichai Yojana: 55% financial assistance for small & marginal and 45% for others to install drip and sprinkler irrigation systems.
  4. Efficiency of flood irrigation ranges from 25-40%. Laser land leveler reduces water use by 30%.
  5. Positives of micro irrigation (Nat Mission on Micro Irrigation study):
  6. 30% saving in energy consumption.
  7. 28% saving in fertiliser consumption (fertigation)
  8. 32% saving in irrigation cost.
  9. 42% increase in fruit productivity.
  10. 50% increase in vegetable productivity
  11. 42% increase in farmer income.

PDS - stats, issues

  1. 42% of all households held BPL or AAY cards in 2012. 5.5 lakh fair price shops, 4 lakh have ePoS.
  2. 90% of ration cards are aadhaar seeded.
  3. Food subsidy under NFSA cost 1.5 lakh crores in 2019.
  4. NITI A: considers cash transfer as a way to improve nutritional security.
  5. Universal PDS a solution. No classification of beneficiaries as in TN.
  6. PDS Issues:
  7. Aadhaar seeding causing exclusion errors.
  8. High leakage. Plan Comm: 35% of all wheat supplies, 31% rice and 23% sugar.
  9. Diversion low in west and south. High in north and east.
  10. Poor don't have cash to buy 20kgs in a single go. No installments allowed.
  11. Low quality of food grains.
  12. Insufficient storage capacity. Stocks at 2.5x storage capacity.

Government Budgeting

  1. Fiscal deficity at 3.5%. Total government debt pegged at 6%.
  2. SBI Report: Debt to GDP ratio at 72% due to covid. FRBM combined debt target of 60% to be achievable only by 2030.


  1. IEA predicts a 2028 global peak of oil demand.
  2. India must focus on developing completely local supply chains for photovoltaics.
  3. Khaleeji Capitalism - gulf states funding ventures through SWF and oil conglomerates.


  1. Average vessel turnaround time is 60 hours. Shanghai, largest port, does it in 23.5 hours.
  2. Average turnaround time for container ship is 30 hours. Shanghai does it in 14.5 hours.
  3. 758 MMT cargo volume handled.

Road Transport

  1. India 4th largest auto market. 20 million vehicles sold annually. Behind China, USA and Japan.
  2. 15% of contracts awarded (in length) are under HAM model.
  3. 57% vehicles not insured, a mandatory provision under MVA.


  1. India is 3rd largest aviation market. China and US ahead.
  2. 378 million traffic in 2019. Target of 825 million in 2025. UDAN phase 4. Islands and NE to be promoted for VGF.
  3. AAI airports have 31% non-aero revenue sources.
  4. Domestic passenger traffic dropped 57% Q2 2020.


  1. Operating ratio for railways is 98.4. Rs 98.4 spent for 100 earned. Target 95% in 2019.
  2. Average speed of passenger rail is 51 kmph. China has 70 kmph.
  3. Railways achieved 100% punctuality in 2020. Witnessed 5 accidents in 2019 with 0 deaths.


  1. US, Russia, ESA, and ISRO have sent Mars orbiters.
  2. India tested ASAT systems in 2019. Microsat R destroyed.
  3. IN-SPACe to act as a regulator for Non Govt Private Entities. Skyroot Aerospace. Vikram I.


  1. India is 2nd most vulnerable country for cyber attacks after US.
  2. NFHS 5: 42% of women use the internet as compared to 62% men.
  3. TRAI: 750 million internet users in India in 2020. Rural India grows 45% due to pandemic.
  4. Only China with 805 million users ahead of India.
  5. RBI provides sandbox regulatory model to test fintech products.
  6. Average data consumption per capita per month in India is 9.8 GB with cost of Rs. 7.7/GB.

Internal Security

  1. Naxalism: MHA says 3750 people died in 2019. 27% decline.
  2. Insurgency in NE: 80% decline in deaths as compare to 2013. MHA. 1824 surrenders.
  3. Naga Conflict: Estimated 3000 people killed in the last 70 years.


  1. 25 crore Indians consume tobacco products.
  2. WHO says NCDs are 7 out of top 10 killers in 2019. Heart diseases cause 16% of all deaths.


  1. Indian diaspora population is ~17 million according to MEA.
  2. NRIs at ~13 million according to MEA.

Security Forces

  1. Personnel - 2 million personnel in state police forces. 30% vacancies.
  2. SMART Police – police which should be
  3. Strict and Sensitive,
  4. Modern and Mobile,
  5. Alert and Accountable,
  6. Reliable and Responsible,
  7. Tech-savvy and Trained.
  8. Equipment - CAG Report found that police equipment was outdated in multiple states.
  9. Police personnel under tremendous stress, understaffed and critical nature of job. Makes them apathetic.

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