IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 27th October, 2015
General Studies 1:Poverty and developmental issues
General Studies 2:
Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
India: Epicentre of Global Malnutrition
With the National Family Health Survey, 2005-06 pointing out towards 38.4 per cent of children being stunted and 46 per cent being underweight, India has become home to a burgeoning malnourished population when, ironically, it also boasts of a rich demographic dividend, all at the same time.
According to UNICEF, one in three malnourished children in the world is Indian and it is estimated that reducing malnutrition could add some 3% to India’s GDP. This also points out towards the fact that there exist no major connectors in place between malnutrition and post-reform period economic growth.
‘Zero Hunger’ Matters
Present challenges stem from the fact that malnutrition at such an early stage reduces intelligence (never to be regained), affects the formation of cognitive and non-cognitive skills that affect long-term wellbeing; not limited to the physical growth or disease resilience but education and economic productivity as well.
Therefore, much prevalence of ‘hidden hunger’ in the country with increased likelihood of infection, disease, and death.
Eliminating malnutrition would remove one-third of the global burden of disease and increase child survival.
The cost of malnutrition is high, both for individuals and nations, implying high budgetary expenditures over health services and diminished productive potential of the workforce.
With the increasing variability in the climate, special challenges due to rain-shock, crop failure or lack of fund can pose serious challenges for nutrition requirements.
Causes of Malnutrition
Malnutrition in Uterus:
Low status of women, low level of education, being underweight during pregnancy and anaemia affects her reproductive health which can lead to higher rates of morbidity, mortality or pregnancy outcomes such as low birth weight, birth defects and haemorrhage of the new-born.
Micronutrient Deficiencies: Deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals—iron, vitamin A, zinc, and iodine; are associated with disease prevalence and severity.
Raises the risk of decreased immune function + Increased morbidity + Mortality + Blindness
WHO has identified ‘poor infant feeding’ as a risk factor for the survival of the child, contributing to neonatal deaths. Experts are of the opinion that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life should be followed by continued breastfeeding until two years of age
Lack of improvement in infant and young child feeding practice:
Aggressive promotion of baby foods by companies
Lack of support to women in the family and at work places,
Inadequate healthcare support,
Non-review of the maternity benefit laws,
Neglecting infant feeding in its disaster management programmes
Weak overall policy and programmes
About half of Indians defecate outside without using toilets and from here, children pick up parasites and chronic infections that impair the ability of the intestines to absorb nutrients
UNICEF reports death of almost 117,000 Indian children per year from Diarrhoea
Report of deaths due to starvation, diseases like hypertension and diabetes rising and incidences of Malaria, TB, Diarrhoea
Open defecation + Lack of clean drinking water + Illiteracy + Lack of Health Education, Infrastructure and health professionals (naxal belt, if any or hilly terrain)
Interventions such as Insurances (Weather + Social + Life + Medical)
Cost benefit Ratios: Returns to early investment is always high than the follow-up remediation of inadequate early investment
Expansion, Improvement & Digitisation of schemes:
ICDS + NRHM + MGNREGA + Reforms in PDS + Usage of ICT for timely monitoring
Convergence: RBSK + WIFS + SSA + MDM + RMSA
Identify these schemes and make a note of them J
Tribal & Rural Areas:
Infrastructure (road, rail, school) + Provision of safe drinking water & toilets at all houses
Traditional healers and youth can be trained to administer drugs (low-risk/emergency) and to help ASHA Workers
Redesigning nutrition &health policies and programs by drawing on science and technology: Nutritional improvement + Implementation + Increasing their coverage (reaches the poor)
Increasing investments and actions in nutrition services for communities (highest concentration of poor)
Focusing programs on girls’ and women’s Education + Health + Nutrition-Training Anganwadi workers
There is a pressing need to monitor the nutritional indicators of children.
Eg: Nutritional biomarker data, GAIN & Amway (Malnutrition Mapping ProjectàTool to map the impacts of malnutrition and to raise awareness for the timely development and implementation of policy solutions)
Bio-fortification is the new answer for maintaining access to micronutrients by making plant food more nutritious as even therapeutic food cannot be a remedy for malnutrition and its dreadful impacts
Indian Impact Model needs the support of corporate leaders and philanthropists like Ratan Tata and G.M. Rao provides the fight great visibility and brings together businesses, citizens and NGOs to resolve basic issues and devise pragmatic solutions.
Connecting the Dots:
Investing in disadvantaged young children will contribute in the promotion of equity and productivity. Do you agree? Substantiate
India suffers from a “double burden “of pervasive under nutrition and deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) along with growing rates of obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases. Discuss
TOPIC: General Studies 2
India and its neighborhood- relations.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
We need to talk about the Brahmaputra
The operational commissioning of the Zam Hydropower Station earlier this month on the Yarlung Zangbo river, also known as the Zangmu Hydropower Project, located in Gyaca county of the Shannan prefecture in China, and considered to be Tibet’s largest such facility, has raised fresh concerns in downstream India, especially in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
New Delhi had information about Beijing’s plans of developing hydropower on the Yarlung Zangbo for over five years now, with other projects such as Dagu, Jiacha and Jiexu in different stages of planning/construction.
The reading of the Sino-Indian diplomatic engagement over the trans-boundary Yarlung Zangbo (Tsangpo)-Brahmaputra river system has largely been through the lens of suspicion and lack of information/data sharing on the shared river system.
Any bilateral government-to-government interactions on the Brahmaputra are shrouded in bureaucratic secrecy, overshadowed by the baggage of the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict and the ensuing territorial contestations over Arunachal Pradesh.
This strategic straight jacketing accorded to the Brahmaputra has led to basin-wide co-riparian mistrust.
Need for engagement between New Delhi and Beijing :
India and China, therefore, need to move towards a framework of engagement and dialogue on the Brahmaputra, as a precursor to any negotiation.
The dialogue needs to be inclusive, providing a platform to various stakeholders and identify new approaches to address the common problem.
The Track 3 and Track 2 level dialogue process has the potential to enable greater people-to-people interactions, reducing trust deficit, changing the way Indians and Chinese talk, think and approach solutions.
What is expected out of the dialogue between India and China ?
While we may not see a formal treaty of understanding in the immediate future, we need to explore options on how New Delhi and Beijing can engage in alternate processes moving towards future treaties on the Brahmaputra.
The dialogue processes need to lay the ground towards recognising the convergences and divergences, and go beyond the existing fear and notions of ‘steal the river’ and ‘upstream hegemons’.
The dialogue must address the concerns of various stakeholders and sub-national units within the respective riparian countries.
The success of the internal dialogue processes will depend on how much of a voice sub-national units such as Arunachal Pradesh and Assam have in influencing New Delhi’s engagement and dialogue with Beijing on the river.
Role of BCIM in promoting regional cooperation :
Sub-regional cooperation groupings such as the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Cooperation Framework can create an enabling environment for mutually inclusive sub-regional participation and water resources sharing.
The BCIM process can support and lead research on country specific infrastructure projects, their impact on the local eco-systems, the riverine communities and other local stakeholders.
It is time for both India and China to go beyond the specifics of project sanctioning and commissioning announcements, and look at the larger issues facing the Brahmaputra basin as a whole, investing in multilateral intent and spirit.
We need to understand how the existing asymmetry/ inequality in riparian relations of power can be addressed politically and economically, especially in the Brahmaputra case, where both countries are regional competitors, while the co-riparian countries of Bangladesh and Bhutan stagnate in the list of Least Developed Countries.
Connecting the dots:
Critically examine the importance of Brahmaputra in regional development of North East India.
What do you understand by run off the river projects? Critically examine the objectives of such projects.
Bureaucratic secrecy, overshadow by the baggage of the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict and the territorial contestations over Arunachal Pradesh has kept India China relations at an all time low .Critically analyse.
Critically examine the importance of china in realising the potential of Act East policy of India.