PIB – September 16 , 2019


GS- 3rd Paper

Topic covered Disaster and disaster management

National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC)

Context

NCMC meeting to review flood situation in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

About NCMC

  • National Crisis Management Committee is a committee set up by the Government of India in the wake of a natural calamity for effective coordination and implementation of relief measures and operations.
  • It is headed by Cabinet Secretary.
  • NCMC has been constituted in the Cabinet Secretariat.
  • At the national level, Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) are the key committees involved in the top-level decision-making for Disaster Management (DM).

Key functions

  • It deals with major crisis which have serious or national ramifications.
  • It oversees the Command, Control and Coordination of the disaster response.
  • Give direction to the Crisis Management Group (CMG) as deemed necessary.

Composition

  • It is headed by Cabinet Secretary.

Other members include

  • Secretary to Prime Minister Member,
  • Secretary (MHA) Member, Secretary (MCD) Member,
  • Director (IB) Member,
  • Secretary (R&AW) Member,
  • Secretary (Agri & Coopn.) Co-opted Member,
  • An officer of Cabinet Secretariat.

GS- 3rd Paper

Topic covered Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

NIRVIK scheme

Context

Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) has introduced a new Export Credit Insurance Scheme (ECIS) called NIRVIK

About NIRVIK

  • Ministry of Commerce & Industry through Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) has introduced a new Export Credit Insurance Scheme (ECIS) called NIRVIK.
  • The Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) provides credit guarantee of up to 60 percent loss.
  • Under the new ‘NIRVIK’ scheme, the insurance cover guaranteed will cover up to 90 percent of the principal and interest.
  • The insurance cover will include both pre and post-shipment credit.

Key features of NIRVIK scheme

  • The Finance Ministry has increased the insurance cover for banks up to 90 percent for working capital loans and moderation in premium incidence for the MSME sector.
  • It is to provide additional support to the banks in the wake of a global slowdown and rising NPAs.
  • It will catalyze the banks to enhance the volume of export credit lending, especially to the MSME Sector with optimal pricing due to capital and risk optimization.
  • All standard accounts covered under ECGC on the date of transition shall be eligible for the insurance cover under the ECIS.
  • The scheme will be in force for a period of 5-years and on the conclusion, the standard ECGC covers will be made available to the Banks with its regular features.
  • Enhanced cover will ensure that Foreign and Rupee export credit interest rates will be below 4%and 8% respectively for exporters.
  • Under ECIS, insurance cover percentage has also been enhanced to 90% from the present average of 60% for both Principal and Interest.
  • Further, the scheme will mandate inspection of bank documents and records by ECGC officials for losses exceeding Rs.10 crore as against the present Rs 1crore.

Objectives

  • It aims to enhance loan availability and ease the lending process.
  • The scheme also aims to simplify the procedure for settlement of claims and provisional payment of up to 50 percent within 30 days on production of proof of end-use of the advances in default by the Insured Bank.

Benefits

  • It will enhance accessibility and affordability of credit for exporters.
  • It will help make Indian exports competitive and make ECGC procedures exporter friendly.
  • Benefit MSME exporters with a new scheme for reimbursing taxes, reduced insurance cost and ease of doing business.

Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC)

  • The Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) is a fully government-owned company.
  • It was established in 1957 to promote exports by providing credit insurance services.
  • The ECGC provides Export Credit Insurance to Banks (ECIB).
  • ECIB protect the banks from losses on account of export credit at the Pre and Post-Shipment stage given to exporters due to the risks of insolvency or protracted default of the exporter borrower.

GS-2 Paper

Topic covered- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) – 2019

Context

Union Human Resource Development Minister launched Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) – 2019 under Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT).

About Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) – 2019

  • A National Initiative “Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP)” was launched to design and deliver a structured scheme of leadership development for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
  • LEAP is a three weeks leadership development training programme.
  • 2 weeks domestic and one week foreign training for second level academic functionaries in public funded higher education institutions.

Objectives

  • It aims to build higher managerial capabilities of existing higher education leaders and administrators and to draw fresh talent into the management of higher education systems,
  • The main objective is to prepare second tier academic heads that are potentially likely to assume leadership roles in the future.

LEAP is being implemented through the following 15 institutions-

  • Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
  • Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
  • Banaras Hindu University
  • Jamia Miliia Islamia
  • Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee
  • Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata
  • University of Hyderabad
  • NIT Trichy
  • University of Delhi
  • Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Indian Institute of Technology BHU
  • TISS Mumbai (CALEM)
  • AMU (CALEM)
  • NIEPA (CALEM)

Eligibility

The mandatory eligibility conditions are-

  • Minimum 8 years of experience as Professor;
  • 3 years administrative experience;
  • Impeccable Integrity;
  • High academic standing preferably 30 publications in ‘SCOPUS’ indexed international journals or UGC approved journals;
  • Age below 58 years.

GS-2 Paper

Topic coveredIssues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT)-2019

Context

Union Human Resource Development Minister launched Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT)-2019 under Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT).

About ARPIT

  • Ministry of Human Resource Development launched Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT) in November, 2018.
  • ARPIT is a major and unique initiative of online professional development of 1.5 million higher education faculty using the MOOCs platform SWAYAM.
  • For implementing ARPIT, discipline-specific National Resource Centers (NRCs) are identified.
  • These are tasked to prepare online training material with focus on latest developments in the discipline, new & emerging trends, pedagogical improvements and methodologies for transacting revised curriculum.
  • ARPIT course of 40 hours/duration is treated as equivalent to one Refresher Course for Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) for promotion.
  • The course is a 40 hour module with 20 hours of video content and 20 hours of non-video content.
  • They are offered in a highly flexible format and can be done at one’s own pace and time.
  • There are built-in assessment exercises and activities as part of the academic progression in the course.
  • At the end of the course, there will be a terminal assessment which can be either online or a written examination.
  • All faculties who have successfully completed the online refresher course will be certified.
  • For ARPIT 2019, 51 discipline specific NRCs have been notified covering 46 disciplines.

Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT)

About

  • The Scheme of Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching is the culmination of the Government of India efforts in launching a comprehensive umbrella scheme.
  • It aimed at improving the quality of education at all levels by infusing quality and excellence in our teachers and teaching. Teachers are the backbone and the core of the education system.

For Prelims-

INS Tarkash

Context

In continuation of the Indian Navy’s overseas deployment to Africa, Europe and Russia, Indian Naval Ship Tarkash made a port call at Walvis Bay, Namibi.

Highlights

  • INS Tarkash (F50) is the second Talwar-class frigate constructed for the Indian Navy.
  • She is part of the second batch of Teg-class frigates ordered by the Indian Navy.
  • These are modified Krivak III-class frigates built by Russia.
  • These ships use stealth technologies and a special hull design to ensure a reduced radar cross section.
  • The main difference between Tarkash and the earlier Talwar-class ships is the use of BrahMos missiles in place of the Klub-N missiles in the earlier ships.
  • She was built at the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad, Russia.

IN-RSN-RTN Trilateral Exercise

Context

Maiden IN-RSN-RTN Trilateral Exercise Commences

Highlights

  • A maiden trilateral exercise, involving Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), Royal Thailand Navy (RTN) and Indian Navy (IN) has commenced at Port Blair.
  • This is five-day-long exercise.
  • It is aimed at bolstering the maritime inter-relationships amongst Singapore Thailand and India.
  • It also aims to contribute significantly to enhancing the overall maritime security in the region.

‘Jaldoot’ Exhibition

Context

Unique Travelling Exhibition ‘JALDOOT’ flagged off by I & B Minister will encourage people’s participation for Water Conservation.

Highlights

JALDOOT is a travelling exhibition arranged by Regional Outreach Bureau, Pune under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

It is a Travelling Exhibition on Jalshakti Abhiyan.

The Regional Outreach Bureau, ROB, in association with MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation) is launching the Jaldoot campaign.

The ROB has redesigned the bus, to create the Jaldoot : Travelling Exhibition on Jalshakti Abhiyan.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan is a collaborative effort of various Ministries of the Government of India and State Governments, being coordinated by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

It is a time-bound, mission-mode campaign that would focus on 1,592 “water-stressed” blocks in 257 districts.

The campaign will run through citizen participation during the monsoon season, from 1st July, 2019 to 15th September, 2019.

The JALSHAKTI ABHIYAN focus on five key aspects-

  1. Water Conservation and Rain Water Harvesting
  2. Renovation of Traditional and other Water Bodies
  3. Reuse of Water and Recharging of structures
  4. Watershed Development
  5. Intensive Afforestation

Gist of Editorials: Throttled at the Grass Roots | GS – II


Relevance :  GS Paper II


Over 25 years after the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments, very little and actual progress has been made in this direction.

Promise of local governance remains unfulfilled 

  • Local governments remain mere agents to do the bidding of higher level governments.
  • Devolution, envisioned by the Constitution, is not mere delegation as practised.
  • Local governments are made to report to to higher level departments instead of voters.

Key issues with local governments

  • money set apart for them is inadequate
  • much of the money given is inflexible
  • there is little investment in enabling them to raise their own taxes
  • they do not have the staff to perform even basic tasks.
  • as most staff are hired by higher level departments, they do not feel responsible to the local govts,
  • violation of the constitutional mandate of five yearly elections to local governments.
  • the current Union government has further centralised service delivery by using technology.
  • The ‘Smart City’ programme does not devolve its funds to the municipalities.
  • Criminal elements win elections through bribing voters.
  • Corrupt partnership between elected representatives and officials at all levels.

Suggestions for local governments

  • Gram sabhas and wards committees in urban areas have to be revitalised.
  • Local government organisational structures have to be strengthened.. Local governments must be enabled to hold State departments accountable.
  • The connection between tax payment and higher accountability is well known. Thus, taxation power of local govts needs to be stregthened.

Conclusion

It is important to tell higher level governments to stay away as it is for us to hold our local governments to account.


Gist of Editorials: Empowering Primary Care Practitioners | GS – II


Relevance :  GS Paper II


Health insurance schemes provide insurance largely for private hospitalisation and not basic medical care.

Ignoring the primary care

  • Bhore Committee report (1946) highlighted the need for a ‘social physician’ as a key player.
  • Medical Council of India has been dominated by specialists with no representation from primary care.
  • There has been opposition to training mid-level health care providers under the NMC Act 2019.
  • Proposals to train practitioners of indigenous systems of medicine are also met with opposition.
  • Such medical assistants have been written-off as ‘half-baked quacks’.

Comparison  with developed nations

  • Nations like the U.K., U.S. are consistently training paramedics and nurses to become physician assistants.
  • Japan accorded a prominent voice to its primary care practitioners (PCP) in its decision-making processes.
  • In India, on the contrary, a hospital-oriented, technocentric model of health care took early roots with alogside flourshing of private sector.

Way forward

  • One, it is imperative to actively begin reclaiming health from the ‘hospitals’.
  • Two, we need to adequately empower and ennoble PCPs and give them a prominent voice in our decision-making processes.
  • Three, a gate-keeping system is needed, and no one should be allowed to bypass the primary doctor to directly reach the specialist.

Essential Facts (Prelims) – September 12 & 13 , 2019


World Oil Demand Report

Category: International

  • India’s oil demand will rise at the fastest pace globally this year and the next, even as its economic expansion has slowed down.
  • This was revealed in OPEC’s ‘World Oil Demand’ report.
  • It said India’s oil demand is projected to rise by 3.21% in 2019. In 2020, it will further rise by 3.36%. This outpaces China’s oil demand growth of 2.73% in 2019 and 2.37% in 2020.
  • China, however, is the world’s second-biggest oil consumer in 2019, behind only the U.S.

Boreas is the largest flying animal of all time

Category: Sc/tech

  • Scientists unveiled a new species of pterosaur, the plane-sized reptiles that lorded over primeval skies above T-rex, Triceratops and other dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous.
  • With a wingspan of 10 m and weighing 250 kg, Cryodrakon boreas rivals another pterosaur as the largest flying animal of all time.
  • Its remains were first discovered more than 30 years ago in Alberta, Canada, yet elicited scant excitement because of the misclassification. But a closer look at the fossil remains left no doubt that a new species had been discovered.
  • Like other winged reptiles living at the same time, about 77 million years ago, C. boreas was carnivorous and probably fed on lizards, small mammals and even baby dinosaurs.

Fedor

Category: Sc/tech

  • It’s mission over for a robot called Fedor that Russia blasted to the International Space Station, the developers admitting he could not replace astronauts on space walks.
  • Fedor, or Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research, was built to assist space station astronauts.
  • The silvery anthropomorphic robot cannot fulfil its assigned task to replace human astronauts on long and risky space walks.
  • Fedor turned out to have a design that does not work well in space — standing 180 cm tall, its long legs were not needed on space walks.

Valley’s apple growers welcome govt.’s scheme

Category: Agricultue

  • J & K Government announced market intervention scheme to buy crop worth ₹8,000 crore directly from the farmers in Kashmir.
  • The decision of the Union government to revoke J&K’s special status resulted in a communication blockade, affecting the traders’ ability to tie up with wholesale buyers outside or line up with transport companies.
  • Kashmir produces 75% of the total apple crop in the country at 20 lakh metric tonnes.
  • The government’s market intervention, the first of its kind in J&K, will allow the apples produce to be bought from the doorsteps of the orchardists.

NATGRID wants to link social media accounts to central database

Category: Security

  • The ambitious National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) project wants to link social media accounts to the huge database of records related to immigration entry and exit, banking and telephone details among others.
  • The project, initially started in 2009 with a budget of ₹2,800 crore, is an online database for collating scattered pieces of information and putting them on one platform.
  • At least 10 central agencies like Intelligence Bureau (IB), Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) and others will have access to the data on a secured platform.
  • The proposal has received resistance from the intelligence agencies, whose officials fear that linking the social media accounts to sensitive government data could expose the system to “trojan attacks.”
  • NATGRID links intelligence and investigation agencies. The 10 user agencies will be linked independently with certain databases that would be procured from 21 providing organisations and include telecom, tax records, bank, immigration, etc. to enable the generation of intelligence inputs.

Water found in atmosphere of habitable exoplanet

Category: Sc/tech

  • Water has been discovered for the first time in the atmosphere of an exoplanet with earth-like temperatures that could support life as we know it.
  • Eight times the mass of earth and twice as big, K2-18b orbits in its star’s “habitable zone” at a distance — neither too far nor too close — where water can exist in liquid form.
  • Of the more than 4,000 exoplanets detected to date, this is the first known to combine a rocky surface and an atmosphere with water.
  • Most exoplanets with atmospheres are giant balls of gas, and the handful of rocky planets for which data is available seem to have no atmosphere at all.
  • Discovered in 2015, K2-18b is one of hundreds of so-called “super-earths” — planets with less than ten times the mass of ours — spotted by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft.
  • They found the unmistakable signature of water vapour. Exactly how much remains uncertain, but computer modelling suggested concentrations between 0.1 and 50 %. By comparison, the percentage of water vapour in earth’s atmosphere varies between 0.2% above the poles, and up to 4% in the tropics.
  • K2-18b orbits a red dwarf star about 110 light years distant — a million billion kilometres — in the Leo constellation of the Milky Way.

PIB – September 14 , 2019


GS-2nd Paper

Topics Covered- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Community Radio Stations

Context

118 new Community Radio Stations are to be set-up.

About Community Radio Stations

  • Community radio is a type of radio service that caters to the interests of a certain area, broadcasting content that is popular to a local audience.
  • These are small (low power) FM radio stations with a coverage area of around 10-15 Km radius, depending on the geography of the area.
  • Presently, there are more than 180 community radio stations across India, broadcasting in languages like Bundelkhandi, Garhwali, Awadhi and Santhali — tongues that typically find little or no space on television.

Applications of Community Radio Stations (CRS)

  • Community Radio Stations act as essential communication channels for enhancing last mile of outreach of government.
  • CRS play a significant role in dissemination of agriculture related information, government schemes for people’s welfare, weather forecast etc.
  • Plans are underway to ensure expansion of the community radio network to each district of the country.

Aims

The Community Radio Support Scheme aims to achieve following objectives-

  • To strengthen new and existing CR Stations with resources, capacity and technology so that they could provide access and voice to marginalized communities.
  • To promote growth of CRS, especially in remote and rural areas, so that people living in these areas could have access to a meaningful medium of broadcast
  • To promote socio-economic and cultural development of communities as CRS is a powerful medium for social mobilization

Who can apply for a Community Radio Station?

As per the 2006 policy of the Government, followings are the desired condition for an organisation to operate a Community Radio Station (CRS)-

  • The Community Radio Station should serve a specific well-defined local community.
  • It should be a ‘non-profit’ organisation and must have at least three years of service experience to the local community.
  • The ownership and management structure should reflect the community which it serves.
  • It should only broadcast programmes that cater to the educational, developmental, social and cultural needs of the community.
  • The organization must be a Legal Entity. It should be registered (under the registration of Societies Act or any other such act relevant to the purpose).

Challenges against CRS

  • Community Radio Stations are facing lack of journalistic and technical skills.
  • The adequate technological and journalistic trainings are required to work CRS properly.
  • Community Radio Stations require right attitude, skills and equipment for its strength and popularity.
  • The lack of management skills, as well as some knowledge of financial management and income generation, is biggest hurdles for Community Radio to operate.
  • Community Radio Stations are small and often situated in locations where basic services, like a constant supply of electricity, are lacking.
  • Due to these conditions equipment suffers and needs to be vigorously maintained and/or regularly replaced.
  • There is also an absence of a clear regulatory framework in which Community Radio operates.

 Way forward

  • To work CRS effectively the community participation is essential.
  • For this at least 50% of content shall be generated with the participation of the local community, for which the station has been set up.
  • Programmes should preferably be in the local language and dialect(s).
  • The CRS license thus given by the government entitled them to operate a 100-watt (Effective Radiated Power) radio station, with a coverage area of approximately a 12-km radius.

GS- 2ndPaper

Topics coveredSalient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

Uniform Civil Code

Context

Uniform Civil Code is enshrined in the article 44 of Indian Constitution.

About Uniform Civil Code

  • The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India proposes to replace the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in the country with a common set governing every citizen.
  • It is a generic set of governing laws for every citizen without taking into consideration the religion.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Uniform Civil Code is enshrined in the article 44 of Indian Constitution.
  • It is in the Part fourth and under the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) of constitution of India.
  • According to Article 44-
  • “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”.
  • Since the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) are only guidelines for Stat so it is not mandatory to employ them.

Reasons for a Uniform Civil Code in India

  • A secular republic needs a common law for all citizens rather than differentiated rules based on religious practices.
  • Uniform Civil Code is crucial for gender justice.
  • The rights of women are usually limited under religious law, be it Hindu or Muslim. The practice of triple talaq is a classic example.
  • Many religious traditions and practices are at odds with the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Indian Constitution.
  • Courts have also often said in their judgements that the government should move towards a uniform civil code including the judgement in the Shah Bano case.

 The Pros and cons of Uniform Civil Code

The Pros

  • UCC provide equal status to all citizens of India.
  • It promotes gender justice.
  • It supports national integration.
  • It accommodates the aspirations of young population.
  • It bypasses the issues of reforming the existing personal laws.

The Cons

  • The application of UCC is practically difficult due to diversity of India.
  • The UCC can be seen as encroachment of religious freedom.
  • It enables the State interference in personal matters.
  • It is sensitive and tough task to implement.

Need of the hour

  • Need of the hour is the codification of all personal laws.
  • So that prejudices and stereotypes in every one of them would come to light and can be tested on the anvil of fundamental rights of the Constitution.
  • By codification of different personal laws, one can arrive at certain universal principles that prioritise equity rather than imposition of a Uniform Code.
  • It would discourage many from using the law altogether, given those matters of marriage and divorce can also be settled extra-judicially.

For prelims-

Jan Soochna Portal-2019

  • The first-ever public information portal has been launched in Rajasthan.
  • It aims to provide information about government authorities and departments suo motu to the public in the true spirit of the Right to Information Act.
  • The portal would ensure compliance with Section 4(2) of the RTI Act mandating the public authorities to disclose information in the public domain.
  • It will make to make government accountable and for that the people need not file applications under the law to obtain information.

Hindi Diwas 2019

Context

  • National Hindi Divas or Hindi Day is observed every year on September 14.
  • The Hindi Day is a celebration of the Hindi language and its cultural heritage and values among the people of the country and abroad.
  • On September 14, 1949 the Constituent assembly of India adopted Hindi as the official language of the country under Article 343.
  • Hindi is the fourth largest spoken language of the world.

Editorial Simplified : Putting Accident Victims at the Centre of Vehicles Law | GS – II


Relevance :  GS Paper II


Introduction

India is one of the most accident-prone countries in the world, accounting for nearly 1,50,000 deaths — 10% of all motor vehicles-related fatalities worldwide.


Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019

  • The amended Act gives the victims some respite as it provides for an enhanced insurance compensation of ₹5 lakh in case of death of a person in a traffic accident and ₹2.5 lakh where there is “grievous hurt”.
  • The compensation to be awarded following hit-and-run accidents has also been raised to ₹2 lakh when a victim dies and ₹50,000 when he/she suffers a grievous injury.
  • Additionally, the Act now requires insurance companies and the government to notify schemes relating to cashless treatment during the ‘Golden Hour’ — the period of first 60 minutes from the occurrence of an accident when the risk of fatality can be minimised to the greatest extent.
  • Further, it mandates compulsory insurance of all road users, including pedestrians, who will be covered through a ‘Motor Vehicle Accident Fund’.
  • Lastly, it also provides for interim relief to be provided to the claimants. These provisions, well-intentioned, are no doubt steps in the right direction.

Issues and way forward

However, much more needs to be done if the accident victims are to be provided complete justice.

  • First, closer attention needs to be paid to the formula used to calculate the quantum of compensation. For example, in one case, the Accident Claim Tribunal reduced the amount of compensation from the calculated sum of ₹6 lakh to a sum of ₹2,60,000, stating that she was unemployed.
  • Second, many of the problems with the Motor Vehicles Act highlighted by the apex court in the case of Jai Prakash caese either remain unaddressed or are inadequately addressed by the amended version. For instance, though vehicle users who don’t give passage to emergency ambulance vehicle are liable to be punished with fines, such punitive measures are likely to remain ineffective in the absence of an effective implementation mechanism.
  • Further, other factors that lead to a poor response time, including lack of road infrastructure, also need to be taken into account.
  • Another problem highlighted by the apex court for which the new Act does not provided any remedy is that of procedural delays on the part of tribunals in claims settlement. The provision for interim compensation is bound to bring some respite to the victims but another unaddressed concern makes this stipulation susceptible to criticism.
  • An absence of in-built safeguards in the compensation mechanism allows for the money to be frittered away by unscrupulous relatives, touts and agents, especially in cases where the victim or his nearest kin are poor and illiterate. It is to address this concern that the Supreme Court in Jai Prakash suggested payment in the form of monthly disbursements of smaller amounts over a longer period of time to victims or their kin, as against a lump-sum award. This has been overlooked by the new Act.

Editorial Simplified : Empowering Primary care Practitioners | GS – II


Relevance :  GS Paper II


Theme of the article

It is important to reclaim health care from ivory tower structures called ‘hospitals’ and incentivise general practitioners.


Introduction

Colossal health insurance schemes like Ayushman Bharat harp on providing insurance to the poor largely for private hospitalisation when the most impoverishing expenses are incurred on basic medical care.


Ignoring the primary care

  • It took 37 years after the landmark Bhore Committee report (1946), which highlighted the need for a ‘social physician’ as a key player in India’s health system, to finally recognise family medicine as a separate speciality — and another decade and a half to actuate a postgraduate residency in family medicine.
  • The highest professional body representing doctors in this country, the Medical Council of India (MCI), itself came to be dominated by specialists with no representation from primary care.
  • There is a proposal to replace the MCI with a National Medical Commission (NMC) but the situation is unlikely to be much different with the new organisation. The current opposition to training mid-level providers under the NMC Act 2019 is another example of how the present power structure is inimical to primary health care.
  • Despite the presence of evidence proving that practitioners of modern medicine (say medical assistants) trained through short-term courses, like those of a 2-3 year duration, can greatly help in providing primary health care to the rural population, any such proposal in India gets robustly opposed by the orthodox allopathic community.
  • Proposals to train practitioners of indigenous systems of medicine, like Ayurveda, in modern medicine are also met with similar opposition.
  • Such medical assistants, and non-allopathic practitioners, have time and again been written-off as ‘half-baked quacks’ who would only endanger the health of the rural masses.
  • Such criticism ignores the fact that nations like the U.K. and the U.S. are consistently training paramedics and nurses to become physician assistants or associates through two-year courses in modern medicine.
  • Many countries, including the U.K. and Japan, have found a way around this by generously incentivising general practitioners (GPs) in both pecuniary and non-pecuniary terms, and scrupulously designing a system that strongly favours primary health care.

The case of Japan vs India

  • What is special about Japan in the context of health-care services is that it managed to contain the clout of specialists in its health-care system and accorded a prominent voice to its primary care practitioners (PCP) in its decision-making processes.
  • Hospitals, for the early part of Japan’s history with modern medicine, catered only to an affluent few. The government limited the funding of hospitals, restricting them to functions like training of medical students and isolation of infectious cases.
  • Reciprocal connections between doctors in private clinics and hospitals were forbidden, thwarting the possibility of the two groups creating a strong nexus; on the other hand, a sturdy lobby of clinic-based PCPs evolved to tip the balance in favour of primary health care.
  • In India, on the contrary, a hospital-oriented, technocentric model of health care took early roots. Building urban hospitals through public investment enjoyed primacy over strengthening community-based, primary health care.
  • Alongside this, a private sector with rampant, unregulated dual-practice system (doctors practising in both public and private sectors simultaneously) flourished. This allowed doctors to constitute a powerful group held together by coherent interests.
  • This influential doctors’ community, which saw a lucrative future in super-specialty medicine, buttressed the technocentric approach, which also happened to concur with the tastes of the affluent and the middle class. This trajectory of events has had an enormous impact on the present-day Indian health care.
  • While the well-to-do section has always rooted for ‘high-tech’ medical care, this preference has now trickled down to even the subaltern section, which lacks the wherewithal to pay for such interventions

Broad takeaways

Three broad takeaways emerge.

  • One, it is imperative to actively begin reclaiming health from the ivory towers called ‘hospitals’. This could help in gradually changing the expectations of the layman and reversing the aspirations of medical professionals from being unduly oriented towards high-tech, super-specialty care. Given the current trends, however, this looks like a far-fetched possibility.
  • Two, we need to find a way to adequately empower and ennoble PCPs and give them a prominent voice in our decision-making processes pertaining to health care. This can create a bastion of primary health care professionals who can then fight to keep their enclave unscathed.
  • Three, a gate-keeping system is needed, and no one should be allowed to bypass the primary doctor to directly reach the specialist, unless situations such as emergencies so warrant. It is only because of such a system that general practitioners and primary health care have been able to thrive in U.K.’s health system.

Conclusion

In view of the current resurgence of interest in comprehensive primary health care in India, one earnestly hopes that these key lessons will be remembered.


Gist of Editorials: A new Ethics for a Sustainable Planet | GS – III


Relevance :  GS Paper III


Brazil’s Amazon forests are ablaze with dozens of fires which are paving the way for a global climate catastrophe.

Importance of land management

  • Apart from energy and transport, changes in land use patterns too have made significant contributions to emissions of GHGs ..
  • Soils have become depleted with heavy use of chemicals.
  • Farms have few or no friendly insects.
  • Monoculture has reduced the use of indigenous crop varieties.
  • Groundwater is depleted and polluted farm runoffs are contributing to contaminated water bodies while destroying biodiversity.
  • Sustainable land management can reduce multiple stressors on ecosystems and societies.

The nationalist approach

  • Brazil has stated that the amazon fires are  an internal matter.
  • US has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement stating that it is against the national interests of the U.S.
  • But these actions have consequences that far transcend national boundaries.

Moving from national to transnational approach

  • Challenges of climate change and land are transnational.
  • We need a new planetary ethics that transcend conventional boundaries.
  • There have been successful civil society movements that have transcended borders, for example, La Via Campesina.

Conclusion

A Copernican shift in world views is needed. We have to see our place as being part of the planet.


Gist of Editorials: Putting Accident Victims at the Centre of Vehicles Law | GS – II


Relevance :  GS Paper II


India accounts for nearly 1,50,000 deaths — 10% of all motor vehicles-related fatalities worldwide.

Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019

  • Provides for an enhanced insurance compensation of ₹5 lakh in case of death oand ₹2.5 lakh for “grievous hurt”.
  • Requires insurance companies and the government to notify schemes relating to cashless treatment during the ‘Golden Hour’.
  • Mandates compulsory insurance of all road users, including pedestrians..
  • Povides for interim relief to be provided to the claimants.

Issues and way forward

  • Closer attention needs to be paid to the formula used to calculate the quantum of compensation.
  • Many of the problems with the Motor Vehicles Act highlighted by the apex court in Jai Prakash case remain unaddressed.
  • Other factors that lead to a poor response time, such as lack of road infrastructure, also need to be taken into account.
  • The Act does not provided any remedy in case of procedural delays on the part of tribunals in claims settlement.
  • An absence of in-built safeguards in the compensation mechanism allows for the money to be frittered away by unscrupulous relatives, touts and agents.
  • Compensation should be paid in the form of monthly disbursements of smaller amounts over a longer period of time.