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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs 11th May, 2017

  • May 12, 2017
  • 1
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Mar 2017, Uncategorized
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 11th May 2017

Archives

ECONOMY/INFRASTRUCTURE

TOPIC:

General Studies 2

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

General Studies 3

  • Infrastructure
  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment

Inland waterways

Introduction

Connectivity is crucial for an economy like India. Especially with a congested road network an inland waterway network that can offer cheaper alternative is crucial. The need is to build a well connected network and interlaced multimodal transport system to create synergy.

Inland Waterways Authority of India:

  • The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) came into existence on 27th October 1986 for development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
  • The Authority primarily undertakes projects for development and maintenance of IWT infrastructure on national waterways through grant received from Ministry of Shipping.
  • India has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which comprise of rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks, etc.
  • About 55 million tonnes of cargo is being moved annually by Inland Water Transport (IWT), a fuel – efficient and environment -friendly mode.
  • Its operations are currently restricted to a few stretches in the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly rivers, the Brahmaputra, the Barak river, the rivers in Goa, the backwaters in Kerala, inland waters in Mumbai and the deltaic regions of the Godavari – Krishna rivers.
  • Besides these organized operations by mechanized vessels, country boats of various capacities also operate in various rivers and canals and substantial quantum of cargo and passengers are transported in this unorganized sector as well.

Issue:

  • Inland water transport is finally getting policy attention, but its potential is yet to be realized.
  • As per The National Waterways Act, 2016, 111 waterways have been declared as National Waterways (NWs) including the five existing NWs. Out of the 111 NWs, NW-1, 2, & 3 are already operational.  Cargo as well as passenger / cruise vessels are plying on these waterways.
  • DPR for development of NW-4 & 5 were completed in 2010. The DPR of NW 5 was updated in 2014.
  • For the newly declared 106 NWs, techno-economic feasibility studies have been initiated.

Focus:

The government is making a concerted effort to raise the share of inland waterways in freight traffic from 2-3 per cent levels (coastal shipping accounts for a similar proportion), in view of its energy efficiency and lower carbon footprint vis-à-vis road and even rail transport.

  • In China, 47 per cent of its domestic freight traffic moves by water, while in the US it is 12 per cent.
  • To this end, the Centre has passed the National Waterways Act 2016, which categorises 106 new rivers as national waterways (adding to the existing five riverine and canal systems), allowing the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to develop these for shipping.
  • The advantages of raising the share of waterways in the transport mix are obvious.
    • A World Bank study points out that a litre of fuel can move 105 tonne-km by inland water transport, against 85 tonne-km by rail and 24 tonne-km by road.
    • Likewise, the carbon emission per tonne km is 32-36 gms in the case of container vessels, against 51-91 gms in the case of road transport vehicles.
    • Reduced congestion on roads and fewer accidents are an added advantage.

Integrated Union transport ministry:

  • An integrated Union transport ministry could address this failing.
  • The 2014 report of the National Transport Policy Development Committee estimates that to achieve industrial growth of 10 per cent over the next two decades, public and private investment in transport will have to increase at least threefold over this period, from ?20 trillion in the 12th Plan.
  • However, in moving ahead, two issues need to be considered:
    • First, the rights of States and local communities over water resources and
    • Second, the ecological consequences of movement of heavy vessels in particular.
    • The impact of dredging and barrages on river flows (Farakka being an example) and direction, aquatic life and the livelihoods of citizens dependent on the river is an important aspect.
  • A Standing Committee report has pointed to the need to regenerate rainfed rivers and take into account the rights of States with respect to irrigation and provision of drinking water.
  • It rightly suggests a regulator with both Central and State government representatives to address a gamut of concerns

Sagarmala: Concept and implementation towards Blue Revolution

  • The prime objective of the Sagarmala project is to promote port-led direct and indirect development and to provide infrastructure to transport goods to and from ports quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively.
  • Therefore, the Sagarmala Project shall, inter alia, aim to develop access to new development regions with intermodal solutions and promotion of the optimum modal split, enhanced connectivity with main economic centres and beyond through expansion of rail, inland water, coastal and road services.
  • The Sagarmala initiative will address challenges by focusing on three pillars of development, namely
  • Supporting and enabling Port-led Development through appropriate policy and institutional interventions and providing for an institutional framework for ensuring inter-agency and ministries/departments/states’ collaboration for integrated development
  • Port Infrastructure Enhancement, including modernization and setting up of new ports
  • Efficient Evacuation to and from hinterland.

Conclusion:

A growing economy needs to take an integrated and long-term view of developing transport infrastructure so that there is seamless connectivity across different modes as well as balanced, planned and coordinated development across regions. This has been a casualty in transport policy, manifested perhaps by the failure of several PPP projects in roads.

Connecting the dots:

  • Critically analyse the significance of National waterways project and the synergy it can generate with Sagarmala initiative.

 

HEALTH

TOPIC: 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

NATIONAL HEALTH POLICY, 2017: SALIENT FEATURES and KEY HIGHLIGHTS

Union cabinet recently approved the National Health Policy, 2017. It will replace the previous policy which was framed 15 years ago in 2002.

The National Health Policy of 1983 and the National Health Policy of 2002 have served well in guiding the approach for the health sector in the Five-Year Plans. Now 14 years after the last health policy, the context has changed in four major ways.

  • First, the health priorities are changing. Although maternal and child mortality have rapidly declined, there is growing burden on account of non-communicable diseases and some infectious diseases.
  • The second important change is the emergence of a robust health care industry estimated to be growing at double digit.
  • The third change is the growing incidences of catastrophic expenditure due to health care costs, which are presently estimated to be one of the major contributors to poverty.
  • Fourth, a rising economic growth enables enhanced fiscal capacity. Therefore, a new health policy responsive to these contextual changes is required.

The primary aim of the National Health Policy, 2017, is to inform, clarify, strengthen and prioritize the role of the Government in shaping health systems in all its dimensions- investments in health, organization of healthcare services, prevention of diseases and promotion of good health through cross sectoral actions, access to technologies, developing human resources, encouraging medical pluralism, building knowledge base, developing better financial protection strategies, strengthening regulation and health assurance.

Goal

The policy envisages as its goal the attainment of the highest possible level of health and wellbeing for all at all ages, through a preventive and promotive health care orientation in all developmental policies, and universal access to good quality health care services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence. This would be achieved through increasing access, improving quality and lowering the cost of healthcare delivery. The policy recognizes the pivotal importance of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Major Highlights of National Health Policy, 2017

  1. Assurance Based Approach– Policy advocates progressively incremental Assurance based Approach with focus on preventive and promotive healthcare
  2. Health Card linked to health facilities– Policy recommends linking the health card to primary care facility for a defined package of services anywhere in the country.
  3. Patient Centric Approach– Policy recommends the setting up of a separate, empowered medical tribunal for speedy resolution to address disputes /complaints regarding standards of care, prices of services, negligence and unfair practices. Standard Regulatory framework for laboratories and imaging centers, specialized emerging services, etc
  4. Micronutrient Deficiency– Focus on reducing micronutrient malnourishment and systematic approach to address heterogeneity in micronutrient adequacy across regions.
  5. Quality of Care– Public hospitals and facilities would undergo periodic measurements and certification of level of quality. Focus on Standard Regulatory Framework to eliminate risks of inappropriate care by maintaining adequate standards of diagnosis and treatment.
  6. Make in India Initiative– Policy advocates the need to incentivize local manufacturing to provide customized indigenous products for Indian population in the long run.
  7. Application of Digital Health– Policy advocates extensive deployment of digital tools for improving the efficiency and outcome of the healthcare system and aims at an integrated health information system which serves the needs of all stake-holders and improves efficiency, transparency, and citizen experience.
  8. Private Sector engagement for strategic purchase for critical gap filling and for achievement of health goals.

At present, there is no proposal under consideration of the Government to make health as a fundamental right. However, National Health Policy, 2017 advocates progressively incremental Assurance based Approach with focus on preventive and promotive healthcare.

The National Health Policy 2017 recognises that improved access, education and empowerment would be the basis of successful population stabilization. The policy imperative is to move away from camp based services with all its attendant problems of quality, safety and dignity of women, to a situation where these services are available on any day of the week or at least on a fixed day.

The government has allocated Rs48,878 crore to the health sector in the recent budget, increasing it to 2.2% of the total Union budget . With such a massive investment, the government would do well to ensure that healthcare services reach the intended beneficiaries and that the beneficiaries avail of them fully.

Think tanks are now focusing increasingly on building evidence bases for policies and programmes that can improve development outcomes. Researchers are aiding the government and stakeholders in conducting rigorous research and utilizing research findings.

The National Health Policy aims at inclusive partnerships with academic institutions, NGOs, and the healthcare industry. It also speaks of “research collaboration” in healthcare delivery. Spending some resources on research will help the government deliver benefits in an effective way as well as avoid the often-repeated mistakes of earlier mechanisms. With minimal investment, the government will stand to gain from robust evidence. Research can prove to be a shot in the arm for safeguarding the government’s health goals—and the population.

Connecting the dots:

  • Critically analyse the aims and features of National Health Policy, 2017.
  • Critically analyse the impact of the new National Health Policy, 2017 on the health fabric of the country especially with increasing cases of depression and non-communicable diseases.
  • National Health Policy 2017 is a step in the right direction. Discuss the policy critically in view of the rural health parameters of India and global SDGs.

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