IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 15th March, 2017

  • March 15, 2017
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 15th March 2017




General Studies 1

  • Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society, Social empowerment

General Studies 2

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
  • Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

Institutional deliveries and early childhood care


Mother and child care is critical to any emerging nation as it will determine the future generation. Vital parameters like institutional deliveries and early childhood care should receive due importance. Measures should be planned keeping ground realities in mind and with stakeholder approach. Institutional deliveries are up in India, but breastfeeding within the first hour of birth needs to keep pace


Though institutional delivery being as high as nearly 79% nationally, the number of children in India breastfed within one hour of birth is less than 42% — near 43% in urban areas and 41% in rural India, according to the National Family Health Survey 4 (NFHS-4) data released a few days ago.

  • The Janani Suraksha Yojana — cash incentives to pregnant women to attend antenatal clinics and opt for institutional deliveries — has led to a sharp increase in institutional delivery (from 39% in 2005-06 to 79% in 2015-16) and near doubling of children breastfed within one hour of birth in the last 10 years.
  • Breastfeeding babies soon after birth can prevent a significant number of neonatal deaths — about 20% newborn deaths and 13% under-five deaths, according to C.K. Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Improvements all around

  • At 99.9% in both urban and rural areas, Kerala has the highest institutional births in the country.
  • Tamil Nadu is a close second with 99.2% institutional births in urban areas and 98.7% in rural areas.
  • Yet, Kerala and Tamil Nadu do not fare greatly when it comes to initiating breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  • At 64%, Kerala is well below Goa’s average of 73%. Similarly, Maharashtra with 90% institutional deliveries has 57.5% for early initiation of breastfeeding compared to Tamil Nadu’s nearly 55%.
  • Bihar has shown the most improvement in initiating breastfeeding within one hour of birth — from 4% in 2005-06 to 35% in 2015-16.
  • Though Uttar Pradesh has improved its performance, it is still about half of the national average — 7.2% in 2005-06 to 25% in 2015-16.
  • Other States that have shown good improvement on this front are Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan.

Similarly, all States have registered an improvement in the case of exclusive breastfeeding of children under age six months.

  • While Goa has shown a dramatic increase from 17.7% in 2005-06 to nearly 61% in 2015-16, Chhattisgarh has witnessed a drop from 82% to 77%.

Barriers to breastfeeding

  • “You need dedicated people who can counsel mothers on the need to breastfeed within one hour of delivery. There are socio-cultural barriers too,” says Dr. Ajay Khera, Deputy Commissioner and Head of Child Health, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • “It is to overcome these that the government launched the MAA — Mother’s Absolute Affection — programme in August last year.
  • Under the programme, there are special efforts to create community awareness and promotion of breastfeeding, capacity building and skilling of healthcare providers at all delivery points in the country.”
  • According to Dr. Sutapa B. Negi from the Indian Institute of Public Health, Delhi, early initiation of breastfeeding becomes difficult in the case of babies delivered through caesarean section, babies born preterm and low-birth-weight (less than 2.5 kg) babies.
    • “Caesarean deliveries account for 10-15% and nearly 20% babies have low birth weight while 15% are born preterm,” says Dr. Khera.
    • According to NFHS-4 data, the national average for babies delivered by caesarean section is 28%, which is more than three times the 2005-06 figure of 8.5%.
  • While percentages may varying from one State to another, there is not much difference in the rate of breastfeeding within one hour of birth among rural and urban population.
  • Except for a few States like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, rural areas have slightly higher percentage of babies being breastfed within one born of birth than their urban counterparts.


Early breast feeding practices, hygiene and many such practices are vital for the mother and child health imperatives of a nation. Policy actions should be supported by due awareness at grass root levels and regular monitoring.

Connecting the dots:

  • Mother and child care is crucial for any emerging nation. Critically analyse the policy actions of the government of India especially w.r.t. early childhood care.




General Studies 2

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

General Studies 3

  • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

A zero-defect India- Significance and way forward

What is Zero Defect – Zero Effect (ZED) scheme?

  • On 68th Independence Day, PM urged the industry, especially the MSMEs of India, to manufacture goods in the country with “zero defects” and to ensure that the goods have “zero effect” on the environment.
  • International companies competing in global markets focus on their competitive strengths of costs acceptable to the market, technology, innovation, service delivery, lean manufacturing, and defect free products for Zero Defect and Zero Effect (ZED).
  • Similarly, Indian manufacturing industry will also have to focus upon setting up market linkages and create intermediaries to develop the capacity of MSMEs to facilitate their technology, marketability, backward and forward linkages etc.
  • ZED has presented a model where the concept of quality has a holistic change from a tool for compliance to a source of competitiveness.
  • The ZED scheme is an integrated and holistic certification system that will account for quality, productivity, energy efficiency, pollution mitigation, financial status, human resource and technological depth including design and IPR in both products and processes.
  • Strong drivers of ZED manufacturing are- FDI in single and multi-brand retail, interventions in manufacturing sectors like Railways, Defence and e-businesses, emerging strong manufacturing sectors like ESDM and Aerospace etc.

Importance of ZED

  • This phrase expresses that Indian growth will cause least damage to the natural environment (zero effect) and the products and services produced in India will conform to the highest quality standards (zero defects).
  • This is intended to be complementary to another policy discourse ‘make in India’.
  • However, the point of debate in recent past has been :-

Should making in India be only for domestic consumption or should global integration be an intrinsic part of the strategy for India’s economic development?

  • No matter whatever be the target area, the quality of products and services will play an important role.

Quality- all that matters

  • By delivering high quality product, it shows the absorbing capacity of domestic industry for new technology and using advanced skills of production at par with global standards.
  • The domestic industry is prepared to connect with global supply chains.
  • This will also give increasing consumers a good experience considering the expansion of middle class. A sound quality assurance helps absorption of higher technology in manufacturing, adds greater value to products and services and retains high-quality scientific manpower and filters out low-quality imports.
  • Thus, delivery of high quality products adds value to the manufacturing and service industries.

What ails quality delivery?

  • If a domestic industry has been formulated and groomed in a protectionist environment over the years, it is bound to turn away from high-quality assurance ecosystem.
  • In such a situation, it will encourage imposition of such system on others but not itself as quality brings high costs with itself which will create disincentives in a price-sensitive market, and stress that the workforce’s low capacities will not allow adoption of a high-quality assurance system.
  • However, these all are self-preservationist arguments.
  • Indian industry can make its mark in the global market by fighting present low competitiveness by pushing high-quality products there.
  • Today, India has technologically superior manpower and capacities which needs to be integrated with global supply chain by adopting high-quality manufacturing and services ecosystem. This will help in expansion of Indian markets.

Need of standards and current challenges pertaining to it

  • For quality products of manufacturing and services, set standards are required along with corresponding physical infrastructure.
  • Though in several area, a prescriptive approach has been followed, especially in areas which require human, animal and plant safety and preservation. But such has not yet been enforced in making of goods and services.
    • The reason is strong resistance by the industrial lobby.
    • The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is the central agency for development of product and service standards. It provides for certification, conformity assessment and even accreditation leading to conflict of interests.
    • There are many other agencies, most of which work in silos, responsible for sectoral standards who notify their standards under the BIS Act.
    • Then there is Quality Council of India which is jointly promoted through industry-government cooperation.
    • However, the most effective one till now has been FSSAI as it deals with human health and thus demands most effective standards as well as their implementation.
    • Recently, even the pharmaceutical quality regulatory system is emerging as a strong institution by countering allegations of counterfeiting going on for several years.
  • Thus, presence of multiple agencies, different ecosystems, varying approaches of industries and degrees of global integration has created an environment of inconsistency and incoherence.
  • This does not reflect well upon India in the context of the global quality ecosystem.

What next?- a “National Mission on Quality”.

  • India should institutionalise such a mission and create a “National Standards Coordination Agency”.
  • This will integrate all vertical institutions on the subject at a higher level of control and direction by developing consistent policies on standards development and their adoption, conformity assessment and accreditation.
  • It would run a coordinated programme for infrastructure development in collaboration with the private sector, and remove ad-hocism.
  • It is necessary in an emerging economy that state involves itself in core functions of quality assurance. This mission would enable a legislation for a globally contemporary standards ecosystem for products and services.
  • This will lead to delivery of quality products, less litigations pertaining to standardisation and boost to private investments in this area.

Connecting the dots:

  • What is quality and why is it importance? Identify some measures to assess and establish quality level.
  • How is standard different from quality? Examine reasons why Indian goods and services are considered to be low in both? What can be done to improve? Give suitable examples.


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