Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 12 June 2019
Relevant articles from PIB:
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.
- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.
What to study?
For prelims: Key features, objectives of NPCDCS.
For mains: NCDs- burden, Concerns, efforts by government and global efforts on this.
Context: A meeting to review the status of National Programme for prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and strokes (NPCDCS) was held recently.
National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) was launched in 2010 in 100 districts across 21 States, in order to prevent and control the major NCDs.
The main focus of the programme is on health promotion, early diagnosis, management and referral of cases, besides strengthening the infrastructure and capacity building.
The main strategies of the programme are as follows:
- a) Health promotion through behavior change with involvement of community, civil society, community-based organizations, media etc.
- b) Outreach Camps are envisaged for opportunistic screening at all levels in the health care delivery system from sub-centre and above for early detection of diabetes, hypertension and common cancers.
- c) Management of chronic Non-Communicable diseases, especially Cancer, Diabetes, CVDs and Stroke through early diagnosis, treatment and follow up through setting up of NCD clinics.
- d) Build capacity at various levels of health care for prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, IEC/BCC, operational research and rehabilitation.
- e) Provide support for diagnosis and cost-effective treatment at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of health care.
- f) Provide support for development of database of NCDs through a robust Surveillance System and to monitor NCD morbidity, mortality and risk factors.
The funds are being provided to States under NCD Flexi-Pool through State PIPs of respective States/UTs, with the Centre to State share in ratio of 60:40 (except for North-Eastern and Hilly States, where the share is 90:10).
What are NCDs?
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviours factors.
The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.
What are the socioeconomic impacts of NCDs?
NCDs threaten progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a target of reducing premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030.
Poverty is closely linked with NCDs. The rapid rise in NCDs is predicted to impede poverty reduction initiatives in low-income countries, particularly by increasing household costs associated with health care. Vulnerable and socially disadvantaged people get sicker and die sooner than people of higher social positions, especially because they are at greater risk of being exposed to harmful products, such as tobacco, or unhealthy dietary practices, and have limited access to health services.
In low-resource settings, health-care costs for NCDs quickly drain household resources. The exorbitant costs of NCDs, including often lengthy and expensive treatment and loss of breadwinners, force millions of people into poverty annually and stifle development.
NCDs and Concerns associated:
- Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, are collectively responsible for over 70% of all deaths worldwide, or 41 million people. These include 15 million people dying prematurely, aged between 30 and 69.
- One third of these deaths are premature and occur before the age of 70, affecting economically productive individuals.
- The four ‘major’ NCDs are caused, to a large extent, by four modifiable behavioural risk factors: tobacco use, unhealthy diet, insufficient physical activity and harmful use of alcohol.
- The NCDs disproportionately affect the poor, impoverish families, and place a growing burden on health care systems.
Relevant articles from various news sources:
Issues related to health.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: AES- causes, symptoms, effects and prevention.
Context: An epidemic of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) has broken out in five north Bihar districts.
Locally known as Chamki Bukhar in the state.
Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) is a serious public health problem in India.
It is characterized as acute-onset of fever and a change in mental status (mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma) and/or new-onset of seizures in a person of any age at any time of the year.
The disease most commonly affects children and young adults and can lead to considerable morbidity and mortality.
Viruses are the main causative agents in AES cases, although other sources such as bacteria, fungus, parasites, spirochetes, chemicals, toxins and noninfectious agents have also been reported over the past few decades.
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is the major cause of AES in India (ranging from 5%-35%).
Nipah virus, Zika virus are also found as causative agents for AES.
In India, AES outbreaks in north and eastern India have been linked to children eating unripe litchi fruit on empty stomachs. Unripe fruit contain the toxins hypoglycin A and methylenecyclopropylglycine (MCPG), which cause vomiting if ingested in large quantities. Hypoglycin A is a naturally occurring amino acid found in the unripened litchi that causes severe vomiting (Jamaican vomiting sickness), while MCPG is a poisonous compound found in litchi seeds.
Sources: down to earth.
Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: About PVTGs, spread in different states, issues related to their protection and statutory rights given to them.
Why in News? The Chhattisgarh government is processing habitat rights for Abujh Marias, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG).
- Since AbujhMarias is a PVTG community, they are entitled to the habitat rights under FRA.
- Abujhmarh, where this tribe lives, is considered by the government to be one of the last remaining strongholds of Left-wing extremism.
- Abujh Marias have their own governance structure.
- The Abujhmarh forest is spread over 1,500 square miles in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh.
The FRA has a provision that says, “In view of the differential vulnerability of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PTGs) among the forest dwellers, the District Level Committee should play a pro-active role in ensuring that all PTGs receive habitat rights in consultation with the concerned PTGs’ traditional institutions of these groups, after filing claims before the gram sabha”.
Habitat is defined under the act as, “the area comprising the customary habitat and such other habitats in reserved forests and protected forests of primitive tribal groups and pre-agricultural communities and other forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes.”
About ‘Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)’:
PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups. In 1975, the Government of India initiated to identify the most vulnerable tribal groups as a separate category called PVTGs and declared 52 such groups, while in 1993 an additional 23 groups were added to the category, making it a total of 75 PVTGs out of 705 Scheduled Tribes, spread over 18 states and one Union Territory (A&N Islands) in the country (2011 census).
Among the 75 listed PVTG’s the highest number are found in Odisha (13), followed by Andhra Pradesh (12).
The Ministry of Tribal Affairs implements the Scheme of “Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)” exclusively for them .
Under the scheme, Conservation-cum-Development (CCD)/Annual Plans are to be prepared by each State/UT for their PVTGs based on their need assessment, which are then appraised and approved by the Project Appraisal Committee of the Ministry.
Priority is also assigned to PVTGs under the schemes of Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Tribal Sub-Scheme(TSS), Grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution, Grants-in-aid to Voluntary Organisations working for the welfare of Schedule Tribes and Strengthening of Education among ST Girls in Low Literacy Districts.
The criteria followed for determination of PVTGs are as under:
- A pre-agriculture level of technology.
- A stagnant or declining population.
- Extremely low literacy.
- A subsistence level of economy.
Sources: Down to Earth.
Mains Question: Who are the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) in India? Examine why they are classified as such and discuss their characteristics and social conditions.
Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: Pro- tem Speaker- appointment, oath, functions and powers.
Context: Virendra Kumar a BJP MP from Madhya Pradesh will be the Pro-tem Speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha.
What is Pro-tem Speaker?
It is a Latin phrase which translates to for the ‘time being’ in English. So the Pro-tem Speaker is a temporary speaker appointed for a limited period of time.
The need for pro- tem speaker:
The speaker of the Lok Sabha/legislative assembly vacates the office immediately before the first meeting of the newly elected house.
Hence President/governor appoints the pro-tem speaker to preside over the sittings of the house.
Usually the senior most member is elected as the pro-tem speaker.
The president/governor will administer the oath of the office for the pro-tem speaker.
When the house elects the new speaker the office of the pro-tem speaker ceases to exist. Hence the office of the pro-tem speaker is a temporary one which will be in existence for few days.
Duties and functions:
The main duty of the pro-tem speaker is to administer the oath to the newly elected members.
Pro-tem also enables the house to elect the new speaker.
The Bombay High Court in its 1994 judgement in the Surendra Vassant Sirsat case holds that a pro-tem is Speaker of the House “for all purposes with all powers, privileges and immunities” until the Speaker is elected.
The Odisha High Court also agreed in the Godavaris Misra versus Nandakisore Das, Speaker, Orissa Legislative Assembly case when it said the “powers of the Speaker pro-tem are co-extensive with the powers of elected Speaker”.
The pro-tem speaker also has same powers, privileges as that of the Speaker.
Article 180 (1) of the Constitution gives the Governor the power to appoint a pro-tem Speaker. The Article says that if the chair of the Speaker falls vacant and there is no Deputy Speaker to fill the position, the duties of the office shall be performed “by such member of the Assembly as the Governor may appoint for the purpose”.
Sources: the Hindu.
Indian and its neighbourhood.
Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
What to study?
For Prelims: FATF, Grey list, G7.
For Mains: What is Grey list and Black list, how are countries in the list affected?
Context: With little action against terrorism, Pak likely to stay on FATF grey list.
Pakistan was placed on the grey list by the FATF in June 2018 for failing to curb anti-terror financing. It has been scrambling in recent months to avoid being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations by the Paris-based FATF, a measure that officials here fear could further hurt its economy.
Implications of this move:
- Pakistani analysts say being put on the FATF watchlist could deal a blow to Pakistan’s economy, making it harder for foreign investors and companies to do business in the country.
- It would be counterproductive to put Pakistan on the watch list as it would hurt its capability to fight terrorism. Also, being put back on the grey list would heighten Pakistan’s risk profile and some financial institutions would be wary of transacting with Pakistani banks and counterparties.
- Being placed on the FATF watchlist carries no direct legal implications but brings extra scrutiny from regulators and financial institutions that can chill trade and investment and increase transaction costs.
What is it? The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7. It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas. The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.
Objectives: The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
Functions: The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally. In collaboration with other international stakeholders, the FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse.
What is blacklist and grey list?
FATF maintains two different lists of countries: those that have deficiencies in their AML/CTF regimes, but they commit to an action plan to address these loopholes, and those that do not end up doing enough. The former is commonly known as grey list and latter as blacklist.
Once a country is blacklisted, FATF calls on other countries to apply enhanced due diligence and counter measures, increasing the cost of doing business with the country and in some cases severing it altogether. As of now there are only two countries in the blacklist — Iran and North Korea — and seven on the grey list, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria and Yemen.
Sources: the hindu.
Mains Question: What is the mandate and objectives of Financial Action Task Force? Discuss its importance for India – Pakistan relations
Facts for prelims:
Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC) enters into Tripartite Agreement with French National Railways (SNCF) & AFD, a French Agency.
AFD a French agency, has agreed to provide in-kind grant financing up to 7,00,000 EURO, through French National Railways (SNCF)-Hubs and Connexions as a Technical Partner to IRSDC to support the Railway Station Development Program in India This will impose no financial liability on IRSDC or Indian Railways.
Context: US approves sale of NASAMS-II air defence systems to India.
NASAMS-II (National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System – NASAMS) is an upgraded version of the NASAMS developed by Raytheon in partnership with KONGSBERG Defence and Aerospace of Norway.
- It features new 3D mobile surveillance radars and 12 missile launchers for quicker reaction.
- It provides tailor-able, state-of-the-art defence system that can maximise the ability to quickly identify, engage and destroy current and evolving enemy aircraft, UAV or emerging cruise missile threats.
- NASAMS-II is armed with 3D Sentinel radars, short and medium-range missiles, launchers, fire-distribution centres and command and control units to quickly detect, track and shoot down multiple airborne threats.
Defence Space Research Agency (DSRA):
The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared the setting up of the Defence Space Research Agency (DSRA).
DSRA has been entrusted with the task of creating space warfare weapon systems and technologies.
The agency would be provided with a team of scientists which would be working in close coordination with the tri-services integrated Defence staff officers.
It would be providing the research and development support to the Defence Space Agency (DSA) which comprises members of the three services.
The DSA has been created “to help the country fight wars in the space”.
The Defence Space Agency is being set up in Bengaluru under an Air Vice Marshal-rank officer and will gradually take over the space-related capabilities of the three forces.
Summaries of important editorials:
Artificial Intelligence, the law and the future:
Context: Artificial Intelligence (AI) has arrived in our everyday lives. For eg:
In February, the Kerala police inducted a robot for police work.
The same month, Chennai got its second robot-themed restaurant, where robots not only serve as waiters but also interact with customers in English and Tamil.
In Ahmedabad, in December 2018, a cardiologist performed the world’s first in-human telerobotic coronary intervention on a patient nearly 32 km away.
AI has several positive applications, as seen in these examples. But the capability of AI systems to learn from experience and to perform autonomously for humans makes AI the most disruptive and self-transformative technology of the 21st century.
Therefore, if AI is not regulated properly, it is bound to have unmanageable implications.
Challenges of AI:
Regulation of AI: no comprehensive legislation to regulate this growing industry has been formulated in the country till date.
Lack of broad-based expertise in research and application of AI.
Absence of access to intelligent data.
High resource cost.
Low awareness for adoption of the technology.
Privacy and security issues.
Shortage of skilled manpower.
Need of the hour:
A legal definition of AI.
Establish the legal personality of AI (which means AI will have a bundle of rights and obligations), and whether any sort of intention can be attributed to it.
Since privacy is a fundamental right, certain rules to regulate the usage of data possessed by an AI entity should be framed as part of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018.
National strategy for artificial intelligence:
The National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence published by NITI Aayog narrates the different pain points and key challenges involved in implementing Artificial Intelligence in India. It has also tried to touch upon many sectors where AI can play a significant role in bringing India to the forefront of AI revolution.