IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 22nd January 2018
US soon to become world’s second largest producer of oil
Part of: GS Paper II- Internal developments
- The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects the United States oil output to be higher than that of Saudi Arabia in 2018.
- This would make US the world’s second largest producer after Russia.
- In its monthly oil market report, the IEA said that 2018 would become a “record-setting” year for American shale oil producers.
- A group of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) and non-OPEC oil producers have maintained their output cuts in wake of price fall.
- OPEC member states agreed to lower production in 2017 and have decided to maintain their output cuts for the whole of 2018 to shore up crude prices and reduce a global supply glut.
Article link: Click here
Star rating of Garbage-free cities
Part of: GS Paper II- Urbansiation
- Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) Hardeep Singh Puri has launched the ‘Protocol for Star Rating of Garbage-Free Cities’.
- The star-rating initiative, developed by the Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban, will be rating cities on a seven-star rating system based on multiple cleanliness indicators for solid waste management, which will include- Door to Door Collection, bulk generator compliance, source segregation, sweeping, scientific processing of waste, scientific land filling, plastic waste management, construction and demolition management, dump remediation& citizen grievance redressal system etc.
- Cities can be rated as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 star based on their compliance with the protocol conditions specified for each of the rating.
- Further city should be ODF (Open Defecation Free) before it could be given rating of 3 star or above.
- While cities may self-declare themselves as 1-star, 2-star or 4-star, MoHUA will carry out an additional verification through an independent third party to certify cities as 3-star, 5-star or 7-star.
- Cities will need to get re-certified themselves every year to retain their star-status.
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2018 to be declared as the ‘national year of millets’
Part of: GS Paper III- Indian agriculture
- The Union government has decided to declare 2018 as the ‘national year of millets’.
- Dedicating a year for millets will-
Increase awareness about its health benefits.
Result in higher demand for these drought-resistant varieties, resulting in remunerative prices for poor and marginal farmers.
- There is a need to promote millet cultivation ‘as we move towards climate-smart agriculture in the wake of frequent droughts’.
- Karnataka is the country’s leader in the millet sector.
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TOPIC : General Studies 2:
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
What is cross-practise?
Cross practicing is when a homeopath or an ayurved uses allopathic drug and vice versa.
The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill 2017 attempts to revamp the medical education system in India to ensure an adequate supply of quality medical professionals.
Section 49(4) of the bill proposes a joint sitting of the Commission, the Central Council of Homoeopathy and the Central Council of Indian Medicine.
This sitting may decide on approving specific bridge course that may be introduced for the practitioners of Homoeopathy and of Indian Systems of Medicine to enable them to prescribe such modern medicines at such level as may be prescribed.
- Questions regarding the ability of Ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and homoeopathy (AYUSH) practitioners to cross-practise has been highlighted.
- Currently there exists restrictions on allopathic practitioners from practising higher levels of caregiving.
Rationale behind allowing cross-practicing:
Primary health system is struggling with a below-par national physician-patient ratio (0.76 per 1,000 population, amongst the lowest in the world).
This is due to-
- Paucity of MBBS-trained primary-care physicians.
- Unwillingness of existing MBBS-trained physicians to serve remote/rural populations.
Urban-rural disparities in physician availability in the face of an increasing burden of chronic diseases make health care in India both inequitable and expensive.
Need for trained cadre:
There is an urgent need for a trained cadre to provide-
- Accessible primary-care services that cover minor ailments.
- Health promotion services.
- Risk screening for early disease detection.
- Appropriate referral linkages.
Thereby ensuring that people receive care at a community level when they need it.
Basis on which AYUSH physicians can be allowed to cross-prescribe:
- The practice of using AYUSH physicians as medical officers in guideline-based national health programmes exists already.
- Location-specific availability of this cadre can ensure uninterrupted care provision in certain resource-limited settings.
- Their current academic training has primed them for cross-disciplinary learning.
Need for capacity building:
The National Health Policy (NHP) 2017 calls for multi-dimensional mainstreaming of AYUSH physicians.
There were 7.7 lakh registered AYUSH practitioners in 2016, according to National Health Profile 2017 data.
- The 2013 Shailaja Chandra report on the status of Indian medicine and folk healing, commissioned by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, noted several instances in States where National Rural Health Mission-recruited AYUSH physicians were the sole care providers in PHCs.
The report called for the appropriate skilling of this cadre to meet the demand for acute and emergency care at the primary level.
- The 4th Common Review Mission Report 2010 of the National Health Mission reports the utilisation of AYUSH physicians as medical officers in primary health centres (PHCs) in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand as a human resource rationalisation strategy.
While the supply of AYUSH physicians was high in many instances, a lack of appropriate training in allopathic drug dispensation acts as a deterrent to their utilisation in primary-care settings.
- Deploying a capacity-building strategy using AYUSH physicians upskilled through a bridge-training programme
- Use of evidence-based protocols, supported by technology, to deliver quality, standardised primary health care to rural populations.
- Efforts to gather evidence on the capacity of licensed and bridge-trained AYUSH physicians to function as primary-care physicians have been under way in diverse field settings.
A structured, capacity-building mechanism is the next logical step.
The Maharashtra government has led the way in implementing bridge training for capacity-building of licensed homoeopathy practitioners to cross-prescribe.
- Capacity-building of licensed AYUSH practitioners through bridge training to meet India’s primary care needs is only one of the multi-pronged efforts required to meet the objective of achieving universal health coverage set out in NHP 2017.
- Capacity-building of other non-MBBS personnel such as nurses, auxiliary nurse midwives and rural medical assistants, thereby creating a cadre of mid-level service providers.
They can act as anchors for the provision of comprehensive primary-care services at the proposed health and wellness centres.
In the long run, a pluralistic and integrated medical system for India can surely help in effective primary-care delivery and prevention of chronic and infectious diseases.
Connecting the dots:
What do you understand by the term “cross-practice”? Discuss the issues surrounding it. Should it be allowed in India. Give your rationale.
TOPIC: General Studies 3:
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Faster growth of jobs must be the principal objective of whatever economic reforms the Indian government undertakes now.
Arguments made in favor of labour reforms:
- The labour market is not functioning.
The Indian labour market is not working when many young people, who need jobs most, cannot find them. There is a supply-side problem from the citizens’ perspective: not enough jobs are being created.
- Unless employers have the right to fire, they will not hire more workers.
- The thrust of government’s policies must be to protect workers’ incomes and not to protect jobs which should disappear when industries change.
- Unions, who care only for their own highly paid workers, are the obstacles to labour market reforms, the aim of which must be to benefit workers who are not union members.
More jobs are not being created because employers cannot fire their employees- False argument:
Employers are hiring more workers whenever they need them. They hire them as contract workers or casual workers, and not regular workers whom they would have to pay more.
Since contract and casual workers can be easily fired, the inability to fire the workers they hire
- Technologies are changing more rapidly.
Also, off-line training institutions cannot keep up. Their trainees do not have the skills needed as employers say.
Employers must change their processes, they must provide workers opportunities to learn the new skills necessary.
Employers need to show commitment to retain and invest in people.
- The rights of workers, Decent treatment, Fair wages, Adequate social security, must be secured.
- Ensuring social security net.
For contract workers, informal sector workers, and even domestic workers.
Farmers are demanding better prices for their produce and financial safety nets.
The expansion of the social safety net in India, to cover a variety of occupations and enterprises, will have to be the principal thrust of ‘labour market’ reforms.
Employers can be given more freedoms to retrench workers only after strengthening the social safety nets beneath them.
Reforming the laws:
India’s labour laws are archaic, too many, often contradictory, and badly administered. They must be reformed.
The government is simplifying and consolidating the laws into a few codes. The reformed laws must suit emergent conditions.
- They must provide more flexibility to employers.
- They must ensure fair treatment of workers, and provide a wider social safety net.
- Reforms must be made with consensus amongst workers and their unions, and employers and their associations.
- Trust between workers and employers must be increased.
Making ‘bold’ labour reforms, either at the Centre or in the States, to give employers more freedoms to fire workers, may please financial markets for a while, as Thatcher’s reforms did in the UK. However, it will weaken the already fraying social compact in India between the elite and workers. India must strengthen the social compact and build a strong industrial base democratically, like Germany and Japan did, with consensus amongst unions and employers.
Connecting the dots:
- It is necessary that a wide social safety net is provided to Indian labour and trust between employers and workers is increased. Discuss.
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