INDIAN POLITY, GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
1. AYUSHMAN BHARAT HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE MISSION
THE CONTEXT: Prime Minister launched the Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission, one of the largest Pan-India schemes for strengthening healthcare infrastructure.
- It is one of the largest Pan-India schemes for strengthening healthcare infrastructure across the country. It is in addition to the National Health Mission.
- Its objective is to fill gaps in public health infrastructure, especially in critical care facilities and primary care in both urban and rural areas. It will provide support for 17,788 rural health and wellness centres in 10 high-focus states. Further, 11,024 urban health and wellness centres will be established in all the States.
- Through this, critical care services will be available in all the districts of the country with more than five lakh populations through exclusive critical care hospital blocks, while the remaining districts will be covered through referral services.
- People will have access to a full range of diagnostic services in the public healthcare system through a network of laboratories across the country, and integrated public health labs will be set up in all the districts.
PM AYUSHMAN BHARAT HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE MISSION
- There are 3 major aspects of the Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission to address the different gaps in the health sector of the country.
- The first is related to the creation of elaborate facilities for diagnostics and treatment. Under this, Health and Wellness Centers are being opened in villages and cities, where there will be facilities for early detection of diseases. Facilities like free medical consultation, free tests, and free medicine will be available in these centres. For serious illness, 35 thousand new critical care-related beds are being added in 600 districts and referral facilities will be given in 125 districts.
- The second aspect of the scheme is related to the testing network for the diagnosis of diseases. The necessary infrastructure will be developed for the diagnosis and monitoring of diseases. 730 districts of the country will get Integrated Public Health labs and 3 thousand blocks will get Block Public Health Units. Apart from that, 5 Regional National Centers for Disease Control, 20 Metropolitan units, and 15 BSL labs will further strengthen this network, said the Prime Minister.
- The Third aspect is the expansion of existing research institutions that study pandemics. Existing 80 Viral Diagnostic and research labs will be strengthened, 15 Biosafety level 15 labs will be operationalized, 4 new National institutes of Virology and a National Institute for One Health are being established.
ENVIRONMENT, GEOGRAPHY AND AGRICULTURE
2. CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS IN 2020 ABOVE DECADAL AVERAGE
THE CONTEXT: A report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said the increase in CO2 from 2019 to 2020 was slightly lower than that observed from 2018 to 2019 but higher than the average annual growth rate over the last decade.
- The Bulletin, as the WMO report is called, flagged concern that the ability of land ecosystems and oceans to act as ‘sinks’ may become less effective in future, thus reducing their ability to absorb CO2 and act as a buffer against larger temperature increases.
- The Bulletin shows that from 1990 to 2020, radiative forcing (the warming effect on our climate) by long-lived greenhouse gases increased by 47%, with CO2 accounting for about 80% of this increase. The numbers are based on monitoring by WMO’s Global Atmosphere Watch network.
- This is despite the approximately 5.6% drop in fossil fuel CO2 emissions in 2020due to restrictions related to the pandemic.
- For methane, the increase from 2019 to 2020 was higher than that observed from 2018 to 2019 and also higher than the average annual growth rate over the last decade.
- For nitrous oxides also, the increase was higher and also than the average annual growth rate over the past 10 years.
- The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most significant greenhouse gas, reached 413.2 parts per million in 2020 and is 149% of the pre-industrial level.
- Methane (CH4) is 262% and nitrous oxide (N2O) is 123% of the levels in 1,750 when human activities started disrupting earth’s natural equilibrium.
- Roughly half of the CO2 emitted by human activities today remains in the atmosphere. The other half is taken up by oceans and land ecosystems.
3. INDIA’S EXPECTATIONS FROM COP26
THE CONTEXT: Ahead of the 26th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) next month in Glasgow, there have been several bilateral meetings between India and other countries. The big push at the COP will be to have more countries commit to a “net-zero” deadline by mid-century. Huge expectations include arriving at a consensus on unresolved issues of the Paris Agreement Rule Book, long-term climate finance and market-based mechanisms
WHY HASN’T INDIA AGREED TO A NET-ZERO TARGET?
- India sees a mid-century target upon itself as opposed to the principle of “common but differentiated” responsibility that allows countries to eschew fossil fuel without compromising equitable development.
- Net-zero means that a country must commit to a year beyond which its emissions won’t peak and a point at which it will balance out its emissions by taking out an equivalent amount of greenhouse gas from the air.
- Even theoretically committing to a net-zero by 2050 would require India to retire its coal plants and fossil fuel use overnight and even this wouldn’t guarantee that temperature-rise stays below 1.5C by the end of the century.
- India says countries responsible for the climate crisis haven’t made good on previous promises to fund mitigation and adaptation projects and so future net zero promises are therefore hollow.
WHAT ARE INDIA’S EXPECTATIONS FROM COP 26?
- India was also hoping to strengthen global climate initiatives including the International Solar Alliance, Coalition Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT Group), Call for Action on Adaptation and Resilience and Mission Innovation.
- India has said it is “open to all options” provided it gets assurances that commitments in previous COPs such as developing countries getting compensated to the tune of $100 billion annually, the carbon-credit markets be reinvigorated and the countries historically responsible for the climate crisis be compensated by way of “Loss and Damages,” and clean development technologies be made available in ways that its industries can painlessly adapt to.
ABOUT LEAD IT
- The Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT) gathers countries and companies that are committed to action to achieve the Paris Agreement.
- It was launched by the governments of Sweden and India at the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019 and is supported by the World Economic Forum.
- LeadIT members subscribe to the notion that energy-intensive industry can and must progress on low-carbon pathways, aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
- The Management Board is made up of representatives from Sweden, India, and the World Economic Forum. A Technical and Expert Committee, made up of LeadIT member representatives, advises the Board.
- The Secretariat is responsible for managing the work of the Leadership Group and is hosted by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).
4. MAXIMUM WATER LEVEL AT MULLAPERIYAR DAM
THE CONTEXT: The Supreme Court directed the Supervisory Committee to take an immediate and firm decision on the maximum water level that can be maintained at Mullaperiyar dam amidst torrential rains in Kerala.
- Kerala said the water level should not go above 139 feet. Tamil Nadu, on the other hand, informed the court that the level in the dam was 137.2 ft.
- The Supreme Court made it clear that this was not an issue to play politics about.The court directed the Supervisory Committee to get to work as there was an immediate need to specify the maximum water level in the dam because of the rains.
- The order came in a petition filed by Idukki resident Joe Joseph and office-bearers of the Kothamangalam block panchayat in Kerala, who had expressed their apprehensions about the supervision of water levels in the Mullaperiyar dam located along the Periyar tiger reserve, especially during the rainy season.
ABOUT MULLAPERIYAR DAM
- It is a masonry gravity dam on the Periyar River in the Indian state of Kerala.
- It was constructed between 1887 and 1895 and also reached in an agreement to divert water eastwards to the Madras Presidency area.
- The dam created the PeriyarThekkady reservoir, from which water was diverted eastwards via a tunnel to augment the small flow of the Vaigai River.
- The dam is built at the confluence of Mullayar and Periyar rivers.
- The dam is located in Kerala on the river Periyar but is operated and maintained by the neighbouring state
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
5. THE SUPERIORITY OF HYBRID IMMUNITY
THE CONTEXT: The study, posted in the preprint server medRxiv has found that in 500 healthcare workers, the neutralising antibodies were twofold more in people immunised with Pfizer vaccine following natural infection compared with people immunised with Pfizer vaccine but without prior infection.
6. 18TH ASEAN-INDIA SUMMIT AND 16TH EAST ASIA SUMMIT
THE CONTEXT: Prime Minister will attend the 18th ASEAN-India Summit to be held virtually on October 28, 2021. Prime Minister will also attend the 16th East Asia Summit to be held on October 27, 2021, virtually.
- The 18th ASEAN-India Summit will review the status of the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership and take stock of progress made in key areas including Covid-19 & Health, Trade & Commerce, Connectivity, and Education & Culture.
- Important regional and international developments including post-pandemic economic recovery will also be discussed.
- ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership stands on a strong foundation of shared geographical, historical and civilizational ties. ASEAN is central to our Act East Policy and our wider vision of the Indo-Pacific.
- The year 2022 will mark 30 years of ASEAN-India relations.
- The East Asia Summit is the premier Leaders-led forum in the Indo-Pacific. Since its inception in 2005, it has played a significant role in the strategic and geopolitical evolution of East Asia. Apart from the 10 ASEAN Member states, East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Russia.
- India, being a founding member of the East Asia Summit, is committed to strengthening the East Asia Summit and making it more effective for dealing with contemporary challenges.
- It is also an important platform for furthering practical cooperation in the Indo-Pacific by building upon the convergence between ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative (IPOI).
- At the 16th East Asia Summit, Leaders will discuss matters of regional and international interest and concern including maritime security, terrorism, Covid-19 cooperation.
- Leaders are also expected to accept declarations on Mental Health, Economic recovery through Tourism and Green Recovery, which are being co-sponsored by India.
PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Q1. Consider the following statements about Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT):
- It was launched by the governments of Sweden and India at the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019.
- It is an inter-governmental forum of countries that are committed to action to achieve the Paris Agreement.
- Its secretariat is hosted by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
a) 1 only
b) 2 and 3 only
c) 1 and 3 only
d) 1, 2 and 3
ANSWER FOR OCTOBER 23, 2021 PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Q1. Answer: B
Tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh:
- Kanha Tiger Reserve
- Pench Tiger Reserve
- Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
- Panna Tiger Reserve
- Satpura Tiger Reserve
- Sanjay-Dhubri Tiger Reserve
Note: Achanakmar tiger reserve is located in Chhattisgarh.
Buffaloes from Banni are also called “Kutchi” or “Kundi.” The Kutch area of Gujarat is home to this kind of buffalo. The term ‘Banni’ refers not just to buffaloes, but also to pasture grass species native to this region. The ‘Maldharis,’ a Kutch-based community, is dedicated to preserving this breed of buffalo.Spread the Word