IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs 24th May, 2017

  • May 24, 2017
  • 2
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 24th May 2017



TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
  • India and its neighborhood? relations.
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

India – Africa


In the global geopolitics India needs to effectively engage with all countries across the world for engagement on multiple fronts. Africa as a dark continent is emerging as global theatre for all major powers for resources and power play. India has its task cut out though with historical ties.

Facts about Africa:

  • Africa is an amazing continent. From its start as the heart of humanity, it is now home to more than a billion people.
  • The East African Rift zone, which divides the Somalian and Nubian tectonic plates, is the location of several important discoveries of human ancestors by anthropologists.
  • The active spreading rift valley is thought to be the heartland of humanity, where much human evolution likely took place millions of years ago.
  • The discovery of the partial skeleton of “Lucy” in 1974 in Ethiopia sparked major research in the region.
  • Africa is located to the south of Europe and southwest of Asia. It is connected to Asia via the Sinai Peninsula in northeastern Egypt.
  • The peninsula itself is usually considered part of Asia with the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Suez as the dividing line between Asia and Africa. African countries are usually divided into two world regions.
  • The countries of northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, are usually considered part of a region called “North Africa and the Middle East” while countries south of the northernmost countries of Africa are usually considered part of the region called “Sub-Saharan Africa.”
  • As the Prime Meridian is an artificial line, this point has no true significance. Nonetheless, Africa lies both all four hemispheres of the Earth.
  • Africa is also the second most populous continent on Earth, with about 1.1 billion people. Africa’s population is growing faster than Asia’s population but Africa will not catch up to Asia’s population in the foreseeable future.
  • In addition to its high population growth rate, Africa also has the world’s lowest life expectancies.
  • According to the World Population Data Sheet, the average life expectancy for citizens of Africa is 58 (59 years for males and 59 years for females.) Africa is home to the world’s highest rates of HIV/AIDS – 4.7% of females and 3.0% of males are infected.
  • With the possible exceptions of Ethiopia and Liberia, all of Africa was colonized by non-African countries. The United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Portugal all claimed to rule parts of Africa without the consent of the local population.
  • With 196 independent countries on Earth, Africa is home to more than a quarter of these countries. As of 2012, there are 54 fully independent countries on mainland Africa and its surrounding islands.
  • All 54 countries are members of the United Nations. Every country except Morocco, which is suspended for its lack of a solution to the issue of Western Sahara, is a member of the African Union.
  • Africa is fairly non-urbanized. Only 39% of Africa’s population lives in urban areas. Africa is home to only two megacities with a population greater than ten million: Cairo, Egypt, and Lagos, Nigeria.


  • The African Development Bank’s decision to hold its annual general meeting in India this month is a signal of the importance African countries attach to New Delhi’s growing role in its development.
  • It was nearly a decade ago, in 2008, that India made a serious attempt for a strategic partnership with all of Africa, instead of just the nations it traded with, at the first India-Africa Forum Summit.
  • At that time, India’s efforts seemed minimal, a token attempt at keeping a foothold in a continent that was fast falling into China’s sphere of influence.
  • New Delhi had its work cut out, building a place for India as a partner in low-cost technology transfers, a supplier of much-needed, affordable generic pharmaceuticals, and a dependable donor of aid that did not come with strings attached.
  • Over the past few years the outreach to Africa has also been driven by visits of President, Vice-President and Prime Minister.
  • Every country in Africa has by now been visited by an Indian Minister, highlighting the personal bonds India shares.
  • During the India-Africa summit held in Delhi in 2015, the Centre announced a further $10 billion export credit and a $600 million grant which, despite being a fraction of the aid Africa received from China and blocs such as the European Union, was a significant sum for India.

Competing in a powerful neighbourhood:

  • Having established its credentials and commitment over time, the Centre is now taking its partnership beyond dollars and cents to a new strategic level.
    • To begin with, India is working on a maritime outreach to extend its Sagarmala programme to the southern coastal African countries with ‘blue economies’;
    • It is also building its International Solar Alliance, which Djibouti, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia and Ghana signed on to on the sidelines of the AfDB project.
  • In its efforts, India has tapped other development partners of Africa, including Japan, which sent a major delegation to the AfDB meeting.
    • It has also turned to the United States, with which it has developed dialogues in fields such as peacekeeping training and agricultural support, to work with African countries.
  • It is significant that during the recent inter-governmental consultations between India and Germany, both countries brought in their Africa experts to discuss possible cooperation in developmental programmes in that continent.
  • But it is clear that at a time when China is showcasing its Belt and Road Initiative as the “project of the century” and also bolstering its position as Africa’s largest donor, a coalition of like-minded countries such as the one India is putting together could provide an effective way to ensure more equitable and transparent development aid to Africa.


It will take more heavy-lifting to elevate India’s historical anti-colonial ties with Africa to productive economic partnerships. India needs to continuously expand its outreach on multiple fronts and build a sustainable partnership with Africa to ensure it achieves a greater synergy in the years ahead to find a common ground.

Connecting the dots:

  • Discuss the relations of India with Africa in the changed global scenario and geoplotics.



TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • 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
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora their structure, mandate.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, now the third largest killer


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is not one single disease but an umbrella term that covers those long term lung conditions which are characterised by shortness of breath, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema and chronic asthma which isn’t fully reversible. Whilst each condition can occur on its own, people can have a combination.

According to WHO estimates, currently, COPD is the third largest killer affecting an estimated 210 million people. Almost 90 per cent of COPD deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. In India, it is the second largest killer, responsible for 22 million deaths, COPD destroys quality of life.

Recently, COPD got some policy attention by getting included in the National Health Policy 2017, however, there needs to be a sharp focus on accurate diagnosis and use of superior evidence-based treatment for disease management.

India badly affected

The National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (NCMH) has identified India as one of the countries most affected by COPD.

  • According to NCMH, in 2011, COPD contributed ?35,000 crore to the economic burden of India and was estimated to reach ?48,000 crore by 2016-17.
  • COPD has direct healthcare costs, accounting for nearly two-thirds of total revenue, related to the detection, treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation of the disease.
  • There is a direct relationship between the severity of COPD and the overall cost of care at the patient level. Hospital stay accounts for roughly 45-50 per cent of the total direct cost generated by COPD patients across all three stages.
  • The indirect cost emanates from morbidity and mortality, such as days off from work, poor exercise tolerance and disturbed sleep patterns. Half of all COPD patients say that the disease hinders their ability to work.

Risk factors:

  1. Smoking: 80-90% of COPD cases usually occurs in people who have smoked or continue to smoke. It occurs in every type of smokers whether it is cigarette/beedi/chutta. It can occur even in passive smokers. Children are more vulnerable. Though common in male, can occur in females exposed to wood dust, coal dust while cooking, more commonly seen in villages.
  2. Infections: Lung infections in childhood by affecting lung growth and defense mechanisms, previous pulmonary tuberculosis affecting airways leading bronchial hyperresponsiveness can result in COPD as age advance.
  3. Uncontrolled asthma: Airway remodeling leading to irreversible airway contractions might result in COPD.


Lack of awareness is the major concern:

  • An alarming fact is that, after pollution, lack of awareness about this condition is the major reason for increased risk of COPD deaths. Approximately around 25-50 per cent of people with clinically significant COPD are ignorant about the disease; there is rampant misdiagnosis too.
  • There are significant gaps in the clinical approach to the management of COPD and other airway diseases. Lack of awareness leads to underestimating disease prevalence resulting in disease progression and poor disease management.

Misdiagnosis and ill-equipped healthcare:

  • Most primary healthcare units are ill-equipped and hence primary care physicians are unable to diagnose the disease in the early stages. They are also not comfortable with the use of inhalational drugs and prefer using much less efficacious oral medications, which also have greater side effects.
  • Often due to symptomatic similarities between asthma and COPD, (wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness, pain or pressure), patients are put on asthma treatment protocol. Since patients respond to the treatment, physicians don’t feel the need to diagnose and distinguish between asthma and COPD.
  • However, according to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) Grades, the disease classification comprising moderate, severe and very severe disease, need different treatment strategies.

Treatment: All diagnosed COPD patient must use medicines on regular basis for lifelong for stable COPD. Inhalers containing broncho-dilators forms the main mode of therapy. They help in opening and maintaining of blocked airways. Bronchodilator treatment is now thought to be the most important facet of management of COPD across all ‘GOLD Grades’.


To sum it up, today, there is greater need to adopt a multi-pronged framework approach involving the reduction of risk factors, improving availability of health personnel and other infrastructure such as drugs and devices and effective surveillance systems.

Government should muster the will to tighten controls on agents of harm and unhealthy products. Policies like universal health coverage and screening programme, regular checkup, water and sanitation, and good housing helps in reducing exposure to risk factors. If national public health policy is to be turned around, the country has to embark on a mission to turn tobacco fields into fruit orchards. The policy response must therefore adopt a far-sighted approach and focus on prevention and management.

Connecting the dots:

  • What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)? Analyse the impact of COPD on the health profile of the country. Elaborate on the need to increase health awareness and infrastructure of healthcare of the country.
  • Critically analyse the impact of the new National Health Policy, 2017 on the health fabric of the country especially with increasing cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).


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