IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 12th March 2018
India commits $1.4 billion for International Solar Alliance
Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Energy security
- India recently announced one of the world’s largest investment plans in solar energy at the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
- The $1.4 billion line of credit will cover 27 projects in 15 countries and boost the much-required financial power to the solar sector.
- India will start a solar technology mission with international focus, which will cover all government technical and educational institutions.
- The Founding Conference was co-chaired by Mr. Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron.
- Mr. Modi presented a 10-point action plan aimed at making solar power more affordable while raising the share of power generated.
- Three issues that needs to be addressed — the solar energy potential in each country should be be identified; mobilisation of finance; and the provision of a favourable framework.
Article link: Click here
Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA)
Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Energy security
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of achieving 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power by 2022, accounting for more than half of the 175 GW the country plans to produce from renewable sources.
This was announced at the International Solar Alliance (ISA) summit.
- It was announced at the summit that a Project Preparation Facility (PPF) has been set up by India to help partner countries prepare viable project proposals that can be considered for concessional financing under Lines of Credit.
The PPF fills the capacity gap in identifying a need, conceiving a project and preparing a proposal.
- ISA envisages generating 1 TW (terawatt) of solar power by 2030.
The Delhi Solar Agenda:
- It was released after the summit.
- According to the agenda, the ISA will facilitate “affordable finance, access to appropriate, clean and environment-friendly technology and undertake capacity building.”
- The ISA is a coalition of 121 solar resource-rich countries created to address special energy needs and bridge gaps through a common approach.
- India will contribute $27 million towards the ISA corpus, for infrastructure and for recurring expenditure over a five-year period from 2016-17 to 2020-21.
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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
For the success of NHPS
India recently announced an ambitious plan called the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) to provide government-sponsored insurance to roughly 500 million people or nearly 40% of India’s population.
Is the NHPS a good idea?
Definitely yes. There are several reasons:
- India under-invests in the healthcare of its citizens and this is affecting the health and financial well-being of Indians.
- Out-of-pocket payments for healthcare services are very high in our country (about 70%, according to the National Sample Survey Office, 2014), which causes impoverishment to nearly 7% of our population.
- Health-financing policy directly affects the financial protection of people when direct payments that are made to obtain health services do not threaten their living standards.
So, the NHPS should be considered a significant move towards universal health coverage.
Providing insurance to the poor not only saves lives but is also “cost-effective”.
It provides good value for money as the benefits of insurance far outweigh the costs.
Vajpayee Arogyashree Scheme (VAS)- health insurance scheme in Karnataka.
A study found that-
- VAS lowered mortality for covered conditions for BPL families and erased rich-poor disparities in mortality rates.
Most of this reduction was due to fewer deaths from cancer and cardiac conditions, which account for the bulk of VAS claims.
- They found that people covered by insurance were more likely to seek healthcare for their health issues and symptoms (such as chest pain), had better access to tertiary care hospitals, and had better post-operative outcomes likely due to seeking care at higher quality hospitals.
- Insurance lowered out-of-pocket medical costs and lowered the chances of having catastrophic expenditures that are likely to push people into poverty.
What more needs to be done?
We need to pay attention to both the design of NHPS and its implementation:
Making insurance easy to use
Insurance that is difficult to use will not be used. Therefore, we need to streamline both the enrollment process and access to care once enrolled.
- The number of forms people face to enrol in NHPS must be minimized. Aadhaar makes it easy to verify eligibility and enrol.
For this, Aadhaar should be made readily available to demographics where it does not exist.
- Once enrolled, access to care should be provided where people live. This is a challenge in rural India but can be addressed with innovative models.
For example, In Karnataka, health camps organized by super specialty hospitals were successful in improving access to care.
Telemedicine in Uttar Pradesh where patients at primary health centre are connected to specialist doctors in Andhra Pradesh for virtual OPD care.
- A programme financed by public money needs to conserve resources. Therefore, we should provide government sponsored insurance only to those who cannot afford insurance on their own.
“Mission creep” or mis-targeting, however, is a significant threat as we witnessed in the case of Aarogyasri, where nearly 80% of Andhra Pradesh‘s population reported having coverage while the scheme was exclusively aimed at population below poverty line.
This is why the Aadhaar platform becomes fundamental to enrolment to the NHPS.
- In addition to targeting the poor, insurance should target health conditions where disease burden is high and effective interventions are available but underused.
Contracting with private hospitals and clinics
Nearly 75% of out-patient department care and 55% of in-patient department care in India is exclusively from the private sector. Therefore, private hospitals and clinics need to be part of NHPS. We thus need to monitor them and create the right incentives for them.
- Not all hospitals should be eligible for NHPS. Only hospitals that meet certain quality standards should be allowed to serve NHPS beneficiaries.
Quality should be measured not only by the infrastructure available at the hospital but also by actual patient outcomes achieved.
- NHPS should institute prior authorization for expensive medical procedures and surgeries.
NHPS doctors should review the medical records of NHPS beneficiaries to make sure that the surgery in medically warranted and meets evidence-based guidelines.
Using data to learn and evolve
The NHPS will have access to health information of 500 million people. This is an unprecedented amount of data and if curated well, it can have far-reaching applications.
- It can be used for comparative effectiveness research or understanding which treatments work in the real world rather than just in clinical trials.
- Treatments and interventions can be highly contextualized to local conditions. It can be used to advance personalized or precision medicine.
That is, tailoring treatment based on individual genetic or other characteristics.
- It can be used to improve the health system and understand how different delivery and financing designs affect care outcomes and costs.
- It can be used to improve transparency by providing information on quality of care provided by different hospitals or clinics in India.
Not addressing health issue disproportionately affects the weaker and vulnerable sections of society – women and children.
A well run NHPS has the potential to become the cornerstone of India’s healthcare needs for several future generations.
Connecting the dots:
- Importance of an insurance scheme for country like India is immense, given it promotes financial well-being and is also cost-effective. In this light discuss steps required for successful implementation of NHPS.
Also read: For the success of Modicare(NHPS)
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.
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.
General Studies 3:
- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
International Solar Alliance: Multiple opportunities for India
India has often sit at the high table of global negotiations.
On the contrary, it is also many a times seen by the rest of the world as a deal breaker on issues such as global trade and climate change.
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a breakthrough in our global positioning.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a driving force ever since he first announced the idea at the India-Africa Summit in New Delhi in October 2015 and followed this up with more concrete moves during the United Nations climate change talks in Paris in November 2015, with France being an important partner.
India has suddenly became a catalyst in the global attempts at capping climate change. This is important in a geopolitical sense when China is clearly expanding its global footprint.
There are now 121 countries which have signed up for the global solar alliance.
Central to this new role in global affairs is the domestic commitment to generate 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy by 2022, part of the broader 175GW target for renewable energy.
The strategic thought behind this: India has to push towards mass prosperity at a time when climate change is a huge concern.
Key challenges: Ways ahead
- Unilateralism will not do-
Fighting climate change cannot come at the cost of halting the urgent fight against poverty. Global initiatives should always be seen through the lens of national interest. That is why an international alliance based on credible commitments is important.
- The rich countries that are responsible for most of the stock of excess carbon in the atmosphere as well as the high current levels of per capita carbon emissions (as against national aggregates) need to be pushed to provide asymmetrical funding for climate change mitigation and technology transfers.
This will continue to be an important challenge for the global solar alliance.
- The shift to solar energy should not be seen only as a defence mechanism. It can also be an opportunity.
The fight against climate change—and the broader move to low-carbon economies—is likely to create the next big technological wave.
New technology will be the critical factor in the transition to a green economy which also grows rapidly, and India should take a shot at global leadership.
ISA thus offers many opportunities —from geopolitical advantages to economic benefits in the next wave of global innovation.
Connecting the dots:
- International solar alliance offers many opportunities —from geopolitical advantages to economic benefits. Discuss.
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