IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 29th March 2018
‘e-Tribes:Tribes India’ Initiative
Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government interventions
- The government has recently launched ‘e-Tribes:Tribes India’, an initiative for digital commerce at Tribes India outlet at Mahadev Road.
- It included launch of e-commerce portal of TRIFED, www.tribesindia.com and M-commerce, android app ‘Tribes India’.
- The Tribes India banner was launched on Snapdeal, Amazon, Paytm and GeM for the marketing of tribal products through these e-commerce portals.
- With this, more than 55,000 tribal artisans connected to TRIFED will get access to local as well as international markets.
- TRIBES India organisation has set up an ambitious retail sales target of Rs 100 crores to be achieved during 2018-19 with the help of e-commerce.
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India signs the Host Country agreement with the ISA
Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Energy Security
- The International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) have signed the Host Country Agreement.
- The Agreement will give ISA a juridical personality and gives it power to contract, to acquire and dispose off movable and immovable properties, to institute and defend legal proceedings.
- Under this agreement, ISA shall enjoy such privileges, applicable tax concessions and immunities as are necessary for ISA’s Headquarter to independently discharge its function and programmes.
- The main objective of ISA is to undertake joint efforts required to reduce the cost of finance and the cost of technology for massive deployment of solar energy and pave the way for future technologies adapted to the needs of 121 countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics.
- ISA has presently four ongoing programmes: Scaling Solar Applications for Agricultural Use, Affordable Finance at Scale, Scaling Solar Mini Grids and Scaling Solar Rooftop catering to the needs of solar energy in specific areas.
- The ISA is the first international intergovernmental treaty based organization to be headquartered in India.
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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
Eliminating TB in India by 2025: Is possible
With about 2.8 million cases, India is unfortunately the tuberculosis capital of the world.
While the annual incidence has reduced from 289 persons per 100,000 in year 2000 to 217 per 100,000 in 2015, eliminating TB would necessitate a dramatic reduction to less than 1 person per 10,00,000.
The ‘End TB Summit’:
The Prime Minister launched a campaign to eliminate the disease by 2025, five years ahead of the global deadline.
Steps taken by the Government to escalate the fight against TB:
- Launch of a new National Strategic Plan in 2017.
- The thrice-weekly treatment regimen has also been changed to a daily fixed-dose drug regimen.
- In Budget 2018-19, Rs. 600 crore was allocated for providing nutritional support to TB patients.
What more needs to be done?
Apart from scaling up access to new diagnostics and drugs, we need to-
- Address the determinants of TB.
- Combat social stigma.
- Engage private practitioners.
- Strengthen research.
Addressing the determinants of TB:
Various factors, including overcrowding, poor hygiene, malnutrition and lack of access to clean cooking fuels, contribute to India’s enormous TB burden.
According to the National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4), the prevalence of medically treated TB increases with more people sleeping in a room.
Similarly, among households that depend on straw, shrubs or grass for cooking, TB prevalence was as high as 567 persons per 100,000 compared to 206 per 100,000 for households that use clean fuels.
How to address?
- Several flagship programmes of the Government including the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Housing for All, and the National Nutrition Mission have a critical role to play in preventing TB.
- Communities will also need to be engaged for reversing tobacco use and alcoholism, key drivers of the TB epidemic, through the health and wellness centres announced in the budget.
Integrating private sector
Over 50 per cent of TB patients are treated by private practitioners.
Patients often visit multiple private providers before reaching a Directly Observed Treatment Short-Course (DOTS) centre.
- Delayed diagnosis and initiation of treatment not only jeopardises the patient’s chances of making a timely recovery but also increases the risk of transmission to others.
- Further, there is considerable heterogeneity in the knowledge levels of private practitioners about the protocols for TB diagnosis and treatment.
TB was declared a notifiable disease in 2012, following which reporting by the private sector increased to 14.8 cases per 100,000 population in 2015, compared to only 0.3 per 100,000 in 2013.
To increase the notification rates further, the Health ministry has taken a landmark decision to make non-reporting of TB patients a punishable offence.
- Developing a comprehensive set of national guidelines could strengthen private sector engagement in TB.
- Efforts should be made to map and categorise private practitioners based on the nature of their education, experience and services provided.
- We urgently require rapid and cost-effective point-of-care devices that can be deployed for TB diagnosis in different settings across the country.
- Additionally, new drug regimens are necessary for responding to the spread of drug-resistant strains as is an effective vaccine for preventing TB in adults.
- Operational research for optimising service delivery is also critical because it is often the case that diagnostics and drugs do not reach those who need them the most.
The India TB Research and Development Corporation launched in 2016 must play a pivotal role in accelerating these efforts.
Ending social stigma:
TB is not a health issue alone. It is a broader societal challenge.
Patients often hesitate to seek treatment or deny their condition altogether for fear of losing social standing.
The consequence is that TB becomes a death sentence for many even though it is a fully curable illness. Women are disproportionately affected with estimates suggesting that 100,000 Indian women are asked to leave their homes every year after being diagnosed with TB.
What needs to be done?
- Mass awareness campaigns like ‘TB Harega Desh Jeetega’ can play an important role in breaking social taboos.
- Local communication channels such as community radios and street plays must also be leveraged.
- Children should be engaged through anganwadis and schools for disseminating accurate messages about TB to their families.
Eliminating TB by 2025 is a stretch goal no doubt but one that is not impossible if the public and private sectors come together to make the requisite investments in financing, research, human resource and technology. If anything, setting a target that is five years ahead of the global deadline signals much needed intent and ambition.
Connecting the dots:
- The government has launched a campaign to eliminate TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global deadline. Despite the challenges involved, it is possible to do so. Discuss.
General Studies 1
- Social empowerment
General Studies 2
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.
Dilution of the Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989: SC judgement
The Supreme Court in its recent judgement has diluted the stringent provision of denial of anticipatory bail in the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The judgement states that public servants and private employees can only be arrested after a preliminary inquiry — that in the case of a public servant the appointing authority must give permission in writing (in the case of the public in general, the SSP’s permission is needed) — and that a magistrate can extend arrest only after written permission is secured and anticipatory bail must be given unless a prima facie case of crimes is made out.
- The appointing authority is hardly expected to give in writing permission to arrest his junior. If the appointing authority happens to be of the same caste or if the employee concerned enjoys a good rapport with him, he may not give permission at all.
- Political pressure may also be brought on the appointing authority or the SSP not to give permission to arrest the accused.
Situation of Dalits in India:
India has over 180 million Dalits.
- A crime is committed against a Dalit every 15 minutes. Six Dalit women are raped every day.
- Over the last 10 years (2007-2017), there has been a 66% growth in crime against Dalits.
- The NCRB data show that the rape of Dalit women has doubled in the last 10 years.
The figures represent only a tip of the iceberg since most Dalits do not register cases for fear of retaliation by higher castes.
Even if a case reaches court, the most likely outcome is acquittal due to caste biases at every stage.
Rationale behind exclusion of anticipatory bail:
In the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Prevention of Atrocities Act, Parliament had clearly noted that when Dalits assert their rights, vested interests try to terrorise them.
Accordingly, keeping in view the special nature of crimes against Dalits, anticipatory bail was excluded.
Moreover, constitutionality of this exclusion had been upheld by a five-judge bench of the apex court in Kartar Singh.
Issues with the judgment:
- The court has deviated from the established judicial opinion on the subject.
The Supreme Court had clearly said that anticipatory bail provision for the first time was introduced in 1973 and it is merely a limited statutory right and not part of right to life and personal liberty under Article 21.
- Also, Section 22 of the SC/ST Act already protects public servants from prosecution if they acted in ‘good faith’.
If there is concern about the ‘presumption of innocence’ of the accused, the protection of anticipatory bail should be extended to the accused in all cases and under all statutes.
The judgment will have a chilling effect on the already underreported crimes against Dalits. And thus, must be reviewed.
Connecting the dots:
- The Supreme Court has recently diluted the SC and ST Act, 1989. Discuss the rationale behind. DO you think the judgement needs a review? Analyze.
Sending the wrong signal
A solar gear shift
On the electric highway
A law without parliament
Aadhaar benefits for financial inclusion
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