INDIAN POLITY, GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
1. ONE HEALTH CONSORTIUM
THE CONTEXT: Country’s first ‘One Health’ consortium launched by the Department of Biotechnology.
- The consortium, consisting of 27 organisations led by DBT-National Institute of Animal Biotechnology, Hyderabad, is one of the biggest health programs launched by the Govt of India in post-COVID times. The One health consortium consists of AIIMS, Delhi, AIIMS Jodhpur, IVRI, Bareily, GADVASU, Ludhiana, TANUVAS, Chennai, MAFSU, Nagpur, Assam agricultural and veterinary university and many more ICAR, ICMR centres and wildlife agencies.
- COVID-19 pandemic showed the relevance of ‘One Health’ principles in the governance of infectious diseases, especially efforts to prevent and contain zoonotic diseases throughout the world.
- The risk of infectious agents capable of jumping the barriers of species is increasing, mainly because of the potential of novel infectious agents to spread rapidly around the globe due to increased travel, food habits and trade across borders.
- Such diseases have devastating impacts on animals, humans, health systems, and economies, requiring years of social and economic recovery.
ABOUT ONE HEALTH CONCEPT
- One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach— working at the local, regional, national, and global levels — with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.
- This concept is used by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). In India, it is a component under the National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Well Being.
2. GLOBAL HUNGER INDEX 2021
THE CONTEXT: India has slipped to the 101st position among 116 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021 from its 2020 ranking (94), to be placed behind Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
- With this, only 15 countries, like Papua New Guinea (102), Afghanistan (103), Nigeria (103), Congo (105), fared worse than India this year.
- A total of 18 countries, including China, Kuwait and Brazil, shared the top rank with a GHI score of less than five.
- The report, prepared jointly by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organisation Welt Hunger Hilfe, mentioned the level of hunger in India as “alarming” with its GHI score decelerating from 38.8 in 2000 to the range of 28.8 – 27.5 between 2012 and 2021.
- The GHI score is calculated on four indicators — undernourishment; child wasting (the share of children under the age of five who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition); child stunting (children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition); child mortality (the mortality rate of children under the age of five).
- According to the report, the share of wasting among children in India rose from 17.1 per cent between 1998-2002 to 17.3 per cent between 2016-2020.
- However, India has shown improvement in indicators like the under-5 mortality rate, the prevalence of stunting among children and prevalence of undernourishment owing to inadequate food.
3. NEW RULES ALLOWING ABORTION
THE CONTEXT: As per the government’s new rules, the gestational limit for termination of a pregnancy in India has been increased from 20 to 24 weeks for some categories of women.
- Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Rules, 2021, the women for whom the limit has been increased include survivors of sexual assault, rape or incest, minors, those whose marital status changes during pregnancy (widowhood and divorce) and those with physical disabilities.
- The new rules also include mentally ill women, cases of foetal malformation in which there is a substantial risk of physical or mental abnormalities and women in disasters or emergency situations as declared by the government.
- These new rules fall under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021, which was passed by Parliament in March this year.
- Earlier, an abortion required the opinion of one doctor if carried out within twelve weeks of conception and two doctors if done between twelve and twenty weeks.
- As per the new rules, state-level medical boards will be set up to decide if pregnancy may be terminated after 24 weeks in cases of foetal malformation where there is a substantial risk of incompatibility with life, physical or mental abnormalities or handicaps.
- The medical boards are to examine the woman and her reports and then either accept or reject the proposal for medical termination of pregnancy within three days of receiving the request.
- The boards also have to ensure that the abortion procedure, when advised by them, is carried out with all precautions along with counselling. The procedure has to be done with five days of the board receiving the request for the same.
- Experts say that given the advancements in scientific and medical technology the world has witnessed over the years, the extended 24-week gestation period should be for all women and not just ‘special categories of women. The creation of state medical boards could potentially create impediments for women’s access to abortion services as many women discover they are pregnant at a later stage.
SOURCE: INDIA TODAY
4. GLOBAL COVID-19 EDUCATION RECOVERY TRACKER
THE CONTEXT: A global Covid-19 education recovery tracker has revealed that nearly half the countries across the world are still taking classes in the online and hybrid (both online and offline) mode while some are on an extended break due to the pandemic.
- Created by the Johns Hopkins University in the US, Unicef and World Bank, the tracker captures information from 208 countries worldwide and was launched in March.
- While schools have restarted in several countries over the past few months, the latest data on the tracker, till the month of September, shows that classes are yet to go fully in-person in almost half the nations.
- A large number of countries are either teaching children online or through the hybrid mode, which means juggling online and in-person lessons.
- in India, education is currently being imparted in the hybrid mode. At the school level, students in the senior classes have started attending school in person in most states while junior classes continue online.
- The tracker also shows that schools in some countries are on an extended break due to Covid-19.
ENVIRONMENT, GEOGRAPHY AND AGRICULTURE
5. THE DECLINING MONSOON RAINFALL IN PUNJAB OVER THE LAST TWO DECADES
THE CONTEXT: The state has seen a declining trend in rainfall during monsoon in the past two decades. The only silver lining was that the rainfall pattern was good this year, which was witnessed after a long gap.
- There are several factors and they are not Punjab-specific but a global phenomenon due to which erratic weather changes are occurring, for which a collective approach is required to minimise the effect of global warming to control extreme weather variables.
- Experts said deforestation in the state is also one of the causes of the decreasing rainfall trend.
6. THE LARGE SCALE BESS FOR 1000 MW HOUR PROJECT
THE CONTEXT: Government has given go-ahead for inviting the expression of interest for the installation of a 1000 MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) as a pilot project.
- This is the joint effort of both Ministry of New and renewable energy and the Ministry of Power who have been working on this to provide a road map for the installation of the energy storage system in the country.
- In order to support the ambitious goal of achieving the 450 GW renewable energy target of the Ministry of New and renewable energy by 2030, it is important that it gets duly supported with the installation of energy storage systems (battery energy storage system, hydro pump storage plants etc.).
- Going forward, India plans to use an energy storage system under the following business cases:–
- Renewable energy along with the energy storage system
- The energy storage system as grid element to maximize the use of transmission system and strengthening grid stability and also to save investment in the augmentation of transmission infrastructure.
- Storage as an asset for balancing services and flexible operation. The system operator i.e. load dispatchers (RLDCs and SLDCs) may use storage system for frequency control and balancing services to manage the inherent uncertainty/variations in the load due to un-generation.
- Storage for distribution system i.e. it may be placed at the load centre to manage its peak load and other obligations.
- As a merchant capacity by the energy storage system developer and sell in the power market
- Any other future business models as a combination of the above.
7. INDIA-U.S. FINANCIAL DIALOGUE
THE CONTEXT: Finance Minister and her American counterpart, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, met for the eight Ministerial meetings of the U.S.-India Economic and Financial partnership. The Ministerial held a session dedicated to climate finance for the first time.
- In the run-up to the UN Climate Change Conference ( “COP26”)in Glasgow at the end of the month, India has been pushing for rich countries to meet their Paris Accord climate finance commitment of $100 billion per year.
- The two sides “reaffirmed the collective developed country goal to mobilise $100 billion annually for developing countries from public and private sources, in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation,” the statement said. Holding such a session, the statement said, reflected the “critical” role climate finance has to play in achieving global climate goals and the two sides’ commitments to drive “urgent progress” in combatting climate change.
- On international taxation, the two sides welcomed the OECD (Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development, a group of wealthy countries) tax agreement and committed to working with others to implement the agreement’s two pillars by 2023. Pillar One involves the allocation of taxing rights (tax on multinationals) between jurisdictions, and Pillar Two, a global minimum tax of 15% on certain companies
8. INDIA GETS RE-ELECTED TO U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
THE CONTEXT: India was re-elected to the U.N. Human Rights Council for the 2022-24 term on Thursday with an overwhelming majority in the General Assembly, with New Delhi’s envoy describing the election as a “robust endorsement” of the country’s strong roots in democracy, pluralism and fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.
- The 76th UN General Assembly held elections on Thursday for 18 new members of the U.N. Human Rights Council who will serve for a period of three years, starting in January 2022.
- India got 184 votes in the 193-member assembly, while the required majority was 97.
- India’s current term was set to end on December 31 2021. For election for the term 2022-2024, there were five vacant seats in the Asia-Pacific States category – India, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTION
Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to “One Health Concept”
- The goal of one health is achieving optimal health outcomes recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.
- It is a component under the National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Well Being.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
ANSWER FOR OCTOBER 14, 2021 PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Prime Minister launched the Gati Shakti – National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity. Gati Shakti — a digital platform — will bring 16 Ministries including Railways and Roadways together for integrated planning and coordinated implementation of infrastructure connectivity projects.Spread the Word