General Studies 1:
- Women related issues
General Studies 2:
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
General Studies 3:
- Science and Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology
Contraception—a woman’s burden
Dismissal of the rat-poison theory:
On November 8, 2014, Dr. R.K. Gupta, a surgeon at Bilaspur District Hospital, conducted laparoscopic tubectomies on 83 women in the space of 90 minutes in an abandoned building
Background — (Read only if interested, else this part can be skipped)
- Gupta had spent approximately three-four minutes per patient
- Had not followed infection control protocols
- The drugs Ibuprofen and Ciprocin, prescribed to the victims as post-operative care, were laced with rat poison (State Health Department claimed)
Sixteen months after a mass sterilisation camp conducted by the government of Chhattisgarh resulted in 13 deaths and 65 injuries, viscera reports — from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Ramanthapur, Hyderabad, and from the Central Drugs Laboratory, Kolkata, to go with an earlier one from the State Forensic Science Laboratory in Raipur — have dismissed the ‘rat poison’ theory
Stress of targets: upon government doctors is immense
- Every district in Chhattisgarh was given a sterilisation target to meet, in violation of Union Health Ministry norms
- Doctors in Bilaspur had an ‘ELA’ (Expected Level of Achievement) of 3,000 sterilisations and 3,000 Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD) insertions within a fortnight
- For Takhatpurnagar panchayat, the doctors had to sterilise 300 women or risk losing the budget for the next year.
The legal death—
- Targets are not allowed in India but these programmes have ELAs, basically an estimation of how many women need family planning assistance
- While the Centre’s policy uses the right language, there is no effort made to ensure than lower-level staff understand it
Can death be compensated—
- The Chhattisgarh government gave Rs.4 lakh each to the families of the dead women; those injured received Rs.50,000 each
- A fixed deposit of Rs.2 lakh was opened for children of the women who had died and the State government announced that it would “adopt” the children of all affected families.
Reality—Neither of it has happened
- The surgical staff had used the same hand gloves, injections, syringes, sutures on all the 83 women, resulting in life-threatening infections
- The premises where the tubectomies were conducted had not been disinfected properly
- Gupta used only one laparoscope, without disinfecting it after each use
Reality of India’s family planning programme —
History: Achieved notoriety during the Emergency years (1975-77) when a compulsory sterilisation programme to limit population growth was introduced by the Indira Gandhi government.
On paper: The policy might have evolved but the programme still continues to be driven by targets, threats and coercion
Onus of family planning:
It is on the woman, indicating the difference in numbers of female and male sterilization procedures performed
- Medically and financially more viable
- Usually done through vasectomy, is reversible- The vas deferens is easily accessible under local anaesthesia as it rests just under the skin
- The procedure can be performed quickly and a man can walk away from the operation table
- While 0.2 percent of the hundred-odd men surveyed reported using condoms, none of them reported undergoing vasectomy; Not a single man, who was a part of the sample in the National Family Health Survey, had opted for vasectomy in 2015
- Besides patriarchy, misconceptions around vasectomy including loss of sexual potency are to be largely blamed
- Five decades ago- Vasectomy was more prevalent; but today, as C-sections were fewer many women today who opt for C-section deliveries also opt to undergo tubectomy
- Data from the latest National Family Health Survey collected between February 23 and May 9, 2015 shows 53.7 percent of women surveyed, reported undergoing sterilization through tubectomy
- The procedure is irreversible as cut fallopian tubes cannot be reconnected
- The procedure carries some risk of injury to nearby organs like bowels and bladder.
- State offers men from BPL families Rs. 1,300 for undergoing vasectomy in a bid to make it attractive. While the number of men responding is visibly small, the incentive of Rs. 850 to a woman for tubectomy has large takers, lending credence to theories that sterilization in India is coercive
Step towards modernizing the system—
- Government is introducing injectable contraceptives free of charge in government facilities.
- The World Health Organization recommends their use without restriction for women of childbearing age
- For Indian women — often worn out, anaemic and at higher risk of death because they bear children young and often — urgently need methods to delay or space pregnancies
- Court forwarded the matter to India’s Drug Technical Advisory Board, which in 1995 allowed private use to continue but recommended against offering them in government clinics. The decision was not revisited for 20 years, even as use of the method became widespread in neighbouring Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Opponents contend that:
- Activist groups filed cases with the country’s Supreme Court seeking to ban the drugs, contending that they had not been proved safe and could be used coercively.
- India’s health infrastructure is too weak to regulate use of the drugs, monitor side effects or ensure that patients have given informed consent
- India’s government spends just over 1 percent of its gross domestic product on public health, compared with around 3 percent in Russia and China and 8 percent in the United States.
Easy-To-Use IUD Inserter
- It is more than 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.
- While IUDs have proven to be safe and effective immediately after childbirth, they can be complicated to insert
- Special training is required, as is careful sterilization, and some equipment may be unavailable in various places.
Connecting the Dots:
- Men do not take the responsibility of family planning even when it should be equally shared. Critically examine.
TOPIC: General studies 2
- India and its neighborhood- relations
- Bilateral, regional , global groupings and agreement involving India and affecting its interest
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.
Milestones on Beijing’s OBOR plan
- In tune with its economic rise, China has taken a conscious decision to cement its place as a “great power” on the global stage. Chinese aspirations have followed the careful crafting of a “grand strategy” designed to best ensure China’s peaceful rise.
- The core of this strategy is Eurasia and its instrumentality is the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. With an economically dynamic China as its nucleus and in partnership with resource-rich Russia, China has decided to knit the rest of Eurasia with roads, railways, cyber-connected hubs, smart cities, and industrial parks.
- With the financial reins of the initiative firmly in grasp through the $40-billion Silk Road fund and the 57-nation Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), China has begun the journey to generate “new growth engines” along all the flanks of the new Silk Road.
Is it China which recognized Eurasia as the gateway to achieve global influence for the first time?
- The Chinese are not the first to recognize Eurasia as the gateway to achieve global influence.
- In his 1904 seminal article to the Royal Geographical Society titled “The geographical pivot of history”, Halford John Mackinder zeroed in on the area from the Volga to the Yangtze and from the Himalayas to the Arctic as the heartland of what he called the “World Island”.
- Those who ruled the heartland commanded the “World Island” comprising Asia, Europe and Africa.
Grand Strategy employed:
- Instead of pursuing the blood and iron path of former colonial powers, they are trying to achieve a great power status through a cooperative and collegiate approach by combining financial and economic heft with eastern soft power attributes.
- China will not play the bully. Rather, China will abide by the purposes and principles of the UN charter; and China will not engage in zero sum games. Rather it will pursue win-win cooperation with all the countries of the world.
Growing ties with Europe
- The OBOR initiative has provided China significant maneuvering space to spread throughout and shake up Europe’s post-war architecture premised on the U.S.-led Atlantic Alliance.
- The Chinese managed to draw Europe, which has been unable to extricate itself from the pitfalls of the 2008 financial crisis, into the OBOR paradigm through the formation of the AIIB.
- China’s growing ties with Europe, amplified by Beijing’s membership of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as “the highlight of Chinese diplomacy in 2015” as well as a symbol of an emerging multi-polar world.
Obstacles in Asia-Pacific:
- The crises in the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea, where the interests of China and the U.S. collide, are areas of a tense geopolitical tug of war in the Pacific.
- It is in the Asia-Pacific that China confronts the U.S., which is reinforcing six decades of “Pax Pacifica” through “Pivot to Asia” doctrine.
- South China Sea has become an open contest for the exercise of hegemony in the Asia-Pacific between the U.S. and China, a state of open war following a contest between an established and an emerging power.
Need of the hour: Peace treaty with Korean Peninsula to rope them in to OBOR initiative
On the Korean Peninsula, the Chinese are unequivocal in advocating denuclearization, but also insist that Pyongyang’s nuclear disarmament must be tied up with the signing of a formal peace treaty between North and South Korea.
Can such denuclearization have positive outcomes for china and to the world?
- China fully backed Russia in disarming Syria of chemical weapons. This proved critical in averting a likely “regime change” in Damascus.
- The nuclear deal with Iran, in which both Russia and China played a major part, not only removed the chances of a military attack but also opened the door for Iran’s integration with the Eurasian core through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the OBOR initiative.
Connecting the dots:
- One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative of China is more of Win-win game than zero-sum game. Comment
History in Havana– Barack Obama and Raul Castro end Cold War’s last front
Towards a law for Good Samaritans
Brazil In Deep Crisis- Impeachment motion against Dilma Rousseff is just one strand of the upheaval.
Cigarettes aren’t India’s real tobacco problem- Most Indians who smoke, smoke a much cheaper, unfiltered product called a bidi: shredded tobacco wrapped in a ‘tendu,’ or ebony, leaf and tied with a string
Pakistan’s paranoia over connectivity- If Pakistan persists in its obstructionist agenda, it would find itself marginalized in the larger South Asian dynamic
Towards a new order in Internet governance- After Edward Snowden’s revelations, a US-dominated system is unfeasible
1. Cash Starved – Urban & Rural Local Bodies
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