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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 01 DECEMBER 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 01 DECEMBER 2018


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1


Topic -Part of static series under the heading – “ The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country”

1) Several women leaders contributed immensely in shaping the constitution of India by participating in the debates of the Constituent Assembly of India. Discuss prominent contribution by women leaders in making constitution of India.(250 words)

Reference

Livemint

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the contribution made by women members of constituent assembly and how it made the constitution more representative.

Directive word

Discuss – Your discussion should bring out the key demand of the question.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that Among the 299 members of the assembly, 15 were women who had either been voted or chosen to represent their provinces, who left their mark on the making of the republic. The assembly was a platform from which they could assert their equality and craft a politically balanced republic.

Body – discuss their contributions.

  • Annie Mascarene emphasised that centralisation was important, but should be introduced at later stages of democracy and not the initial stages, where it would seem like autocracy.
  • supported India’s membership to the Commonwealth, which many members were opposed to.
  • Enriched the debates related to reservation and separate electorates
  • gave voice to need for humane treatement of those detained or arrested etc

Conclusion – Highlight the overall sense of the contribution that women members made in drafting the constitution.

Background:-

  • Among the 299 members of the assembly, 15 were women who had either been voted or chosen to represent their provinces, who left their mark on the making of the republic.
  • The assembly was a platform from which they could assert their equality and craft a politically balanced republic

Women leaders contribution to constitution in India:-

  • In the assembly, they raised their voice for minority rights, against reservation, and for an independent judiciary.
  • Women whose speeches can still be found in archives are Durgabai Deshmukh, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Begum Aizaz Rasul, Renuka Ray and Purnima Banerji, as well as well-known names like Sarojini Naidu and Vijayalakshmi Pandit.
  • Dakshayani Velayudhan
    • She was the first and only Dalit woman to be elected to the constituent assembly in 1946. She served as a member of the assembly, and as a part of the provisional parliament from 1946-52. 
  • Mehta:-
    • Mehta’s most significant contribution to the constituent assembly debates was in trying to make the UCC a justiciable part of the constitution.
    • As part of the fundamental rights sub-committee, she, along with Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Ambedkar and Manoo Masani, saw the UCC as part of the state’s responsibility to establish a single Indian identity over multiple religious identities.
  • Annie mascarene:-
    • She emphasised that centralisation was important, but should be introduced at later stages of democracy and not the initial stages, where it would seem like autocracy. 
  • BEGUM AIZAZ RASUL
    • The only Muslim woman in the constituent assembly, she was the from United Provinces, her speeches showed that she was not only well versed with law, but also had knowledge of constitutions of other countries. She pointed out and moved several amendments for important issues: like the need for ministers to hold office for a good period to get enough time to do work of real impact. Hence, she was in favour of the Swiss method and a single non-transferable vote.
    • She supported India’s membership to the Commonwealth, which many members were opposed to.
  • DURGABAI DESHMUKH
    • Both a student as well as a practioner of law at the time of assembly debates, it is not surprising that Durgabai suggestions included the method of appointing judges in provincial high courts, need for independence of judiciary, process of appointing the governer, establishment of new high courts in new states.
    • She also suggested an amendment to ensure that “Every judge shall be a citizen of the union of india”, and another one to lower the age from 35 to 30 for holding a seat in the council of states.
  • RENUKA RAY
    • Like the previous women in the assembly, she too opposed to reservation of seats for women. 
    • Although equality had already been mention in fundamental rights, she also supported another member’s contention that it was is necessary to have an explicit provision that social laws of marriage and inheritance of the different communities shall not also have any disabilities attached to them on grounds of caste or sex.
  • Vijayalakshmi pandit:-
    • She had the honour to move the first resolution after the inauguration of Provincial Autonomy in United Provinces to demand a Constituent Assembly and to draw up a Constitution for an independent India.

Topic-  Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

2) Contrary to popular apprehensions, state reorganization on linguistic lines didn’t hamper the federal structure and unity of our nation. Do you agree. Comment. (250 words)

India since Independence by Bipin Chandra Pal.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding of the linguistic reorganisation undertaken in post-independent India, and express our opinion as to how it affected the federalism and integration of the country.

Structure of the answer

Introduction-

Write a few introductory lines about the  need for linguistic organization felt in early independent India. E.g mention the ill conceived divisions of the country into princely states and British Presidencies which paid no attention to linguistic, cultural homogeneity etc.

Body-

  1. Discuss the states demanding reorganisation on linguistic lines and the logic forwarded thereupon. E.g Andhra Pradesh in the very early independent India; Telangana; Bombay etc;
  2. Discuss the positive impact it had vis a vis federalism and national integration. E.g
  3. Discuss the negative impacts. E.g

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • At the time of independence in 1947, India consisted of 571 disjointed princely states that were merged together to form 27 states .On account of the multilingual nature and differences that existed between various states, there was a need for the states to be reorganized on a permanent basis. 

Why language was used as the criteria for the division of states ? 

  • It would lead to the local people participating in the administration in larger numbers because of being able to communicate in a common language. 
  • Governance would be made easier in areas, which shared linguistic and geographical features. 
  • This would lead to the development of vernacular languages, which had long been ignored by the British. 

Linguistic reorganization has strengthened the cause of Indian unity as:

  • It put an end to fissiparous tendencies that would’ve balkanized the country on the basis of language
  • It fulfilled the aspirations of people to have autonomous political units for governance.
  • Led to development of vernacular languages and imparting of education in them, thus facilitating literacy.
  • Development and adoption of vernacular language also enabled political participation by the common man and enabled the common man to voice issues of concern in a familiar language
  • Enabled the preservation of local customs, culture, and festivals. Over time, the people of India have come to cherish the myriad customs of different states. For example Chhath celebrations have become popular in Gujarat.
  • It did not lead to complaints regarding discrimination in the matter of distribution of resources on the basis of language, nor did it affect the federal structure of the country.
  • Administration becomes easier (rulers and the ruled will have same lingua franca). States can have their own official languages and official works could be carried on more efficiently to the lowest level.
  • Helps for strengthening cultural identity.
  • Centre wields its full authority and states cooperate in the same. With the help of popular language as tool, It has ensured outreach and participation of the masses in politics and administration thereby strengthening the state.
  • India succeeded by accommodating diversities(here lingual) as a strength within its national policy framework (USSR failed to integrate Yugoslavia because linguistic and ethnic diversities were suppressed).

However, linguistic reorganization also led to several unintended consequences such as regionalism, linguistic chauvinism and foundation of the “Sons of the soil” doctrine.

  • States reorganization did not, resolve all the problems relating to linguistic conflicts. Disputes over boundaries between different states, linguistic minorities and economic issues such as sharing of waters, and power and surplus food still persist.
  • Linguistic chauvinism also finds occasional expression.

General Studies – 2


Topic– Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance-
applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency &
accountability and institutional and other measures.

3) Do you think that there is a need to make  international structures governing more democratic in the wake of rise of transnational conflicts . Comment.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The article discusses the growing number of international conflicts of business nature. It discusses why there is a need to make the associated international structures more democratic in this regard.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding of the growth of transnational conflicts. It wants us to express our opinion as to why there is a need to make the related international structures more democratic.

Structure of the answer

Introduction-

Write a few introductory lines about the  rise of MNCs and global tech companies like Facebook, Google, Uber etc.

Body-

  1. Discuss the factors responsible for the growth and rise of transnational conflicts e.g Globalization and technological advances; growth of bilateral treaties of economic nature; claims of IPRs by foreign and multinational pharmaceutical companies etc.
  2. Discuss how they threaten the traditional democratic structures and notions. E.g issues that were earlier resolved within a sovereign state in accordance with its constitutional system have now acquired a transnational character; Whatever a country’s Constitution may say about the right to life and the right to health for its citizens, it will still be dragged before an international tribunal if it attempts to forestall or mitigate a public health crisis by lifting patent restrictions upon, for example, a life-saving drug; final decision is taken by a set of individuals who are beyond the structures of accountability that are established in democratic and constitutional states;  clashes between national regulatory authorities and the corporations that drive the new “gig economy”, such as Uber etc.
  3. Discuss how they could be made more democratic and accountable to the wishes of the people. E.g mention the need for an international progressive movement that mobilizes behind a vision of shared prosperity, security and dignity for all people, and that addresses the massive global inequality that exists, not only in wealth but in political power etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background :-

  • As world becomes more interconnected the conflicts among nations is on rise be it technological issues ,data protection, privacy, IPR issues, treaties and agreements etc .

Rise in transnational conflicts:-

  • Globalisation and technological advances have led to rise of translational conflicts.
  • Bilateral treaties:-
    • India is facing legal claims from international investors in as many as 23 arbitration cases, before various tribunals. These claims arise out of bilateral investment treaties between India and other states.
    • One striking feature of such treaties is that they allow international investors (primarily MNCs) to initiate a dispute directly in an international tribunal, bypassing the state’s own constitutional system and its courts.
    • Often, the disputes revolve around measures that were triggered by public health emergencies, economic crises or other matters directly involving public welfare which would therefore be permissible under the Constitution, but which a corporation believes have negatively impacted its financial interests.
  • IPR issues:-
    • Because of its attempts to make essential medicines affordable through amendments to its Patent Act, India has come under pressure from the U.S. and the European Union at the behest of prominent pharmaceutical companies
    • Indeed, in 2011, the EU seized shipments of life-saving Indian drugs that were being transported to Africa and Latin America, on the basis that it could apply its more restrictive patent and customs laws to goods in transit through its territory.
  • Clashes between national regulatory authorities and the corporations that drive the new “Gig economy”, such as Uber etc

How they threaten the traditional democratic structures and notions.

  • Issues that were earlier resolved within a sovereign state in accordance with its constitutional system have now acquired a transnational character.
  • Whatever a country’s Constitution may say about the right to life and the right to health for its citizens, it will still be dragged before an international tribunal if it attempts to forestall or mitigate a public health crisis by lifting patent restrictions upon, for example, a life-saving drug
  • Final decision is taken by a set of individuals who are beyond the structures of accountability that are established in democratic and constitutional states
  • Bias:-
    • Present global bodies are blamed for having bias and democratic set up will leave no such scope and there will be greater accountability and confidence of the people as well.

How they could be made more democratic and accountable :-

  • There is a need for an international progressive movement that mobilizes behind a vision of shared prosperity, security and dignity for all people, and that addresses the massive global inequality that exists, not only in wealth but in political power etc.

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and
issues arising out of their design and implementation.

4) Examine the advantages that PHC model of healthcare has over UHC model? Discuss how these models manifest in Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana?(250 words) 

Indian express

Why this question

At a time when focus over attaining SDG has enhanced, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-3) which pertains to healthcare and seeks to ensure  healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages is important for several reasons. Also, India has introduced schemes focussing on UHC and hence the significance of these models becomes important.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what UHC and PHC model is and the advantages of one over the other. Thereafter, it expects us to explain which model is prevalent in PMJAY and analyze what it means. Finally we need to give a way forward.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what is meant by the two.

Body

  • Explain that Astana Declaration underscored the importance of Primary Health Care (PHC) as an essential complement to UHC. UHC concentrates on ensuring healthcare access through medical insurance “coverage” in order to “prevent catastrophic medical expenditures”. This was a move away from the comprehensive PHC approach that was reiterated by the WHO in 2008. The Astana declaration (2018) attempts to integrate the two approaches. “We will apply knowledge, including scientific as well as traditional knowledge, to strengthen PHC, improve health outcomes and ensure access for all people to the right care at the right time and at the most appropriate level of care, respecting their rights, needs, dignity and autonomy,
  • Thereafter, explain the model in PMJAY. In India, the UHC-PHC complement is embodied in the Ayushman Bharat scheme — the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJY) reflects the UHC model, while the health and wellness centres claim to reflect the PHC component at the primary level. This is a shift from the earlier strategy for strengthening public healthcare system, reflected in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), 2005-2012 — later the National Health Mission with incorporation of the National Urban Health Mission. NRHM addressed primary and secondary levels, leading to an increase in public health expenditure,
  • Examine the impact of the two models in health schemes and discuss what would be better going forward.

Conclusion – Give your view and mention the way forward.

Background:-

  • Economic viability of current healthcare models is under question, even in the world’s largest economies such as the US and China. Health indicators and figures on healthcare access present a picture of widespread inequality.

PHC model Vs UHC model:-

  • UHC:-
    • Universal Health Coverage (UHC) has been adopted as the strategy to attain SDG-3. However recently at a meet in Astana, the world community acknowledged UHC’s limitations.
    • The Astana Declaration underscored the importance of Primary Health Care (PHC) as an essential complement to UHC.
    • UHC concentrates on ensuring healthcare access through medical insurance “coverage” in order to “prevent catastrophic medical expenditures”. This was a move away from the comprehensive PHC approach that was reiterated by the WHO in 2008.
  • PHC:-
    • Primary Health Care (PHC) is the heart and soul of medicine. It is the foundation of every health care system: the first contact and ongoing link between people and their health providers.
    • PHC is how individuals and families connect with the health care system throughout their lives, for everything from prenatal checkups and routine immunizations to the treatment of illness and the management of chronic conditions.
    • When PHC works, people are able to get the care they need to stay healthy. The vast majorityof a community’s health needs can be met by a well-functioning primary care system.
    • PHC explicitly ensures a focus on equity, accessibility and quality of care. PHC is people-focused: organized around people rather than diseases, and encompassing the full range of interventions that foster good health.
    • The principles of the PHC approach of the Alma Ata declaration (1978) such as healthcare closest to home and appropriate technology that is effective, safe, cheap, and simple to use, need to be applied to the healthcare system as a whole. The PHC-infused-UHC could facilitate such a shift. 

How these models manifest in Pradhan Mantri Jan aarogya yojana :-

  • The Astana declaration (2018) attempts to integrate the two approaches.
  • In India, the UHC-PHC complement is embodied in the Ayushman Bharat scheme – the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJY) reflects the UHC model, while the health and wellness centres claim to reflect the PHC component at the primary level. This is a shift from the earlier strategy for strengthening public healthcare system, reflected in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), later the National Health Mission with incorporation of the National Urban Health Mission. 
  • Health and Wellness Centres bring focus on to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), in addition to the ongoing communicable disease control programmes and maternal and child health programmes. The ambit of services provided has increased and public services at the primary level have been strengthened.
  • AYUSH practitioners who have taken “bridge’ courses”  will be posted at the health and wellness centres to screen NCDs and implement allopathic programmes. Encouraging them to utilise their AYUSH knowledge to prevent and treat diseases will be an opportunity to utilise India’s indigenous resources for sustainable options.
  • The PHC-infused UHC provides a window of opportunity for re-visioning and creating sustainable and empowering healthcare. 

                                            

Topic – Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes.

5) Explain the maternity benefits available in formal and informal sector? Examine issues and give suggestions?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The article explains the benefits under the two and issues with the two maternity benefit schemes. Both are important schemes and hence needs to be prepared.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the difference in provision of the two schemes and the issues in their design and implementation . Finally we need to provide suggestions for tackling these issues.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that The provision for maternity entitlements in the NFSA is very important for women who are not employed in the formal sector. The PMMVY, however, undermines this provision due to the dilution of the entitled amount and the exclusion criteria.

Body

  • Discuss the differences
    • Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) of 2013, every pregnant woman is entitled to maternity benefits of ₹6,000, unless she is already receiving similar benefits as a government employee or under other laws.
    • The PMMVY announced in December 31, 2016 violated the NFSA on 3 grounds – First, the benefits have been reduced from ₹6,000 to ₹5,000 per child. Second, they are now restricted to the first living child. Third, they are further restricted to women above the age of 18 years.
  • Explain the other issues
    • Cumbersome application process
    • Little assistance to women who lose their babies
    • excludes more than half of all pregnancies because first-order births account for only 43% of all births in India. Etc
  • Give suggestions for improvement

Conclusion – The government’s maternity benefit programme must be implemented better and comply with the Food Security Act. Maternity benefits should be raised to ₹6,000 per child at least, for all pregnancies and not just the first living child.

Maternity benefits in formal and informal sector:-

  • Constitution of India included what it then called “maternity relief” in the Directive Principles of State Policy, calling upon the State to “make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief”.
  • Country’s first maternity benefit programme for pregnant women called the Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy Maternity Benefit Scheme.
    • This scheme initially provided Rs 300 to every woman below the poverty line to help cover the expenses incurred during childbirth.
    • The amount was increased to Rs 12,000 later.
  • The Government of India recently made many progressive amendments to the Maternity Benefits Act, 1961.
    • For instance, it increased maternity leave for women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
    • Women working both in the private sector and public sector are eligible for this full-pay leave.
    • There are other excellent features in the law as well, including provisions for working from home (if the organisation opts for it) for nursing mothers even beyond the 26-week maternity leave period, as well as the setting up of crèches with nursing breaks for women with small children.
    • Women in the formal sector are given six months paid leave under the new Maternity Benefits Act, 
    • But, about 95% of working women in India are, in fact, in the private and informal sector, not covered by this Act.
  • In 1995 Government of India first introduced the earliest limited maternity entitlement for women in the unorganised sector which is called the National Maternity Benefit Scheme.
    • It provided Rs 500 to women officially identified to be poor for each of their first two live births.
    • This was replaced a decade later by a modified Janani Suraksha Scheme. The amount was raised to Rs 1,400, but the scheme transformed from a maternity entitlement to an incentive scheme for women to undertake family planning and institutional deliveries.
    • Finally in 2010, the government introduced a conditional maternity benefits scheme implemented on a pilot basis in 53 districts called the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana. This provided lactating and pregnant women with Rs 4,000, which was raised in 2014 to Rs 6,000, for their first two live births if they fulfilled certain conditions.
  • Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) of 2013, every pregnant woman is entitled to maternity benefits of Rs. 6,000, unless she is already receiving similar benefits as a government employee or under other laws. 
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is also a maternity benefit programme.

Issues:-

  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) violates the NFSA in several ways.
    • The benefits have been reduced from 6,000 to Rs. 5,000 per child.
    • The benefits are now restricted to the first living child.
    • The benefits are further restricted to women above the age of 18 years.
    • The scheme largely defeats the purpose it is supposed to serve: according to a recent analysis, it excludes more than half of all pregnancies because first-order births account for only 43% of all births in India. 
    • Application process is cumbersome and exclusionary: a separate form has to be filled, signed and submitted for each of the three instalments, along with a copy of the applicant’s mother-child protection card, her Aadhaar card, her husband’s Aadhaar card, and the details of a bank account linked to her Aadhaar number. The compulsory linking of the applicant’s bank account with Aadhaar often causes problems.
    • The PMMVY provides little assistance to women who lose their baby, because the successive payments are made only if the corresponding conditionalities are met.
    • The amount of money given to women in the informal sector under the PMMVY falls far short of what women in the formal sector get under the Maternity Benefits Act. 
  • Half of the respondents who had spent money during delivery or pregnancy said that they had to borrow money to meet the expenses. It was also common for the families of the respondents to sell assets or migrate to cover these costs. 
  • Informal sector women:-
    • No rest and escape from the drudgery and obligations of hard labour even as their bear, deliver and nurse their children.
    • In most cases, women did not rest enough because there was nobody to share the work burden, be it within the household or outside.
    • Women, including pregnant women, continued to perform strenuous work both in the fields and at the home, which adversely affects the health of the mother and child.
    • They remained invisible and unprotected by the regime of labour laws that promised them equality and fair working conditions.
  • Entitlements though bank accounts:-
    • The government remains indifferent to the high human costs to the poor, especially rural women, for who the rural banking system in India is still largely inaccessible.
  • Concerns with maternity leave are not addressed:-
    • The high costs of maternity leave drive companies to discriminate against women in higher-level jobs.
    • Childcare is treated solely as women’s responsibility.
    • Unspecified parental leave ends up being taken mainly by women.
    • India largely lacks facilities where women can leave their children for care.
    • Integrated Child Development Services to provide nutrition and childcare up to 6 years of age, lack in quality and coverage.

How to address this?

  • Companies are less likely to discriminate against women if government shares the cost. The 2018 ILO report emphasises the need for government to share at least 2/3rds of maternity benefits costs.
  • Parental leave :-
    • It is better to give paternity leave or non-transferable quotas of parental leave. Nearly 55% countries recognise father’s role and give paternity leave in varying degrees.
    • Matching paternity and maternity leave would create a level playing field by reducing employer discrimination.
    • Iceland grants 9 months of parental leave with 3 reserved for the mother, 3 for the father, and 3 to be shared between them.
  • Offering flexible work time for both sexes can help with work-life balance.
  • Facilities :-
    • Providing good crèches and childcare centres, not just for care but also for early childhood development, is crucial.
    • SMEs located in close proximity could pool resources for creating crèches, rather than each creating its own. This would benefit women across all sectors, formal and informal.
    • in Japan, government’s expansion of high quality childcare centres significantly increased women’s work participation
  • Awareness:-
    • Media campaigns to change social norms, favouring childcare by fathers are essential.
    • There is a need for more comprehensive and gender-balanced alterations to the maternity benefit act.

General Studies – 3


Topic –  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact
assessment

6)  Increased incidence of heat waves across the world is a cause of concern for all countries especially India. Analyze. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Episodes of Heat waves have increased dramatically in the wake of Climate change. India is no immune to the fact and faces more difficult challenges on account of various inherent socioeconomic factors which needs to be deliberated upon.

Directive word

Analyze-here we  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to probe deeper into the increasing episodes of heatwaves, briefly discuss the causes and discuss in detail what are the socioeconomic costs inflicted by heat waves, which make them a cause of worry for India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction-

write a few introductory lines about the  recent report highlighting the increased incidence of heat waves across the world including India.

Body-

  1. Briefly discuss the meaning of a heat wave and  reasons behind increased incidence of heat waves. E.g mention the IMD definition of heat wave; mention the increasing anthropogenic emissions and climate change as the reasons behind the phenomenon etc.
  2. Discuss the socioeconomic costs associated with heatwaves especially in case of India. E.g

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • According to a study by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar, the frequency of severe heat waves in India will increase 30-fold by 2100 under a 2°C warming scenario.

Heat waves are a concern to the world:-

  • Since 1990, every region of the globe has become steadily more vulnerable to extreme increases of heat.
  • Increased exposure to heat can cause
    • A decrease in labour output
    • Burden health systems ill-equipped to cope with the effects of heat stress
    • Promote the spread of diseases like cholera and dengue fever across endemic areas.

Reasons why heat waves are  an increasing concern for India are :-

  • India experienced an additional 40 million heatwave exposure events in 2016 as compared to 2012, raising concerns over a “dangerous surge” in negative health impacts.
  • Over the last two decades, there has been a “marked increase” in the duration of heatwaves in India, as well as the numbers of Indians exposed to heatwaves.
  • Magnified effect of paved and concrete surfaces in urban areas and a lack of tree cover 
  • Urban heat island effects can make ambient temperatures feel 3 to 4 degrees more than what they are.
  • Climate change is expected to cause an increase in the frequency and intensity of heatwaves.
    • Higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becomingly increasingly frequent globally due to climate change
  • Combination of exceptional heat stress and a predominantly rural population makes India vulnerable to heat waves.
    • Vegetable vendors, cab drivers, construction workers, police personnel, road side kiosk operators and mostly weaker sections of the society have to work in the extreme heat to make their ends meet and are extremely vulnerable to the adverse impacts of heat waves such as dehydration, heat and sun strokes.
  • Health impact:-
    • Heat exposure can lead to heat stress – illnesses which occur as a result of the body’s inability to prevent its temperature rising from beyond a normal range.
    • Severe heat stroke can lead to multiple organ failure, seizures, and death.
    • Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing morbidities are particularly vulnerable
  • Labour less:-
    • India lost nearly 75 billion hours of labour in 2017 as a result of rising temperatures.
    • This made sustained work increasingly difficult and negatively affecting workers’ output.
    • The agriculture sector experienced the largest increase in labour loss.

Way forward:-

  • Policy intervention and coordination across three sectorshealth, water and power is necessary.
  • Expedite the rollout of the National Action Plan on Climate Change and Health
    • Preventing temperature-related morbidity and mortality could be a key programme under this mission.
  • Ensure an adequate supply of water. Timely access to drinking water can help mitigate this escalation. 
    • Provision of drinking water within housing premises and indoor toilets.
  • Further research using sub-district level datato provide separate indices for urban and rural areas to enable more targeted geographical interventions.
    • Deeper analysis of urban ward-level datato provide intra-city vulnerability patterns.
  • Provision of public messaging(radio, TV), mobile phone-based text messages, automated phone calls and alerts.  
  • Promotion of traditional adaptation practices, such as staying indoors and wearing comfortable clothes.  
  • Popularisation of simple design featuressuch as shaded windows, underground water storage tanks and insulating housing materials.  
  • Advance implementation of local Heat Action Plans, plus effective inter-agency coordination is a vital response which the government can deploy in order to protect vulnerable groups. This will require identification of “heat hot spots”, analysis of meteorological data and allocation of resources to crisis-prone areas.
  • Other states can follow this:-
    • Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has adopted a heat action plan which necessitates measures such as building heat shelters, ensuring availability of water and removing neonatal ICU from the top floor of hospitals. It has helped bring down the impact of heat wave of vulnerable population.