IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 7th April 2018
Maharashtra Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture: WB to provide loan
Part of: Mains GS Paper II,III- Key interventions by the government, Environment conservation
- The World Bank has approved a Rs. 2,700-crore loan to improve water harvesting structures and adopt climate resilient agricultural practices in the water-starved Vidarbha and Marathwada regions of Maharashtra.
- The multilateral funding agency signed an agreement with the Centre and the Maharashtra government for a 30-year long loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which will be used to improve water availability in rain-fed areas in these regions, an official release said.
- Called Maharashtra Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture, the project is said to benefit seven million people, mainly small and marginal farmers, in over 5,100 villages in 15 climate vulnerable districts in these two regions.
- The project is expected to take a series of measures at the farm and watershed level.
It will scale up climate-resilient technologies such as micro irrigation systems, expand surface water storage and facilitate aquifer recharge, which is expected to directly contribute to a more efficient use of scarce water resources.
Besides, it will encourage farmers to adopt seeds of short-duration, and drought and heat-resistant crops so that farmers face lesser risk of climate-related crop failure.
Article link: Click here
Declining population of the Great Indian Bustard
Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Environment, Conservation
- The global population of the GIB plummeted from 1,300 in the 1970s to a mere 300 between 2011-12.
- Rajasthan and Abdasa (Kutch, Gujarat) are the last remaining abodes of the GIB.
- Apart from power lines (high voltage ones, running above the ground) and loss of grassland are the reasons behind the decline.
Loss of grassland — the habitat of the GIB — is primary cause:
- There is unhindered grazing and installing of windmills and power stations on grasslands, thereby encroaching upon the breeding and wintering ground of the GIB.
- Large parcels of grassland are converted to agricultural land.
- The changing agricultural pattern that is moving away from traditional crops is another reason. With the disappearance of the traditional Bajra and Jowar crops, whose by-products served as fodder, their food has been on the decline.
An increase in the use of pesticides has further depleted the population of insects like the beetle, which the GIB and other birds feed on.
About the GIB:
- The GIB is a heavy bird, weighing 15-16 kg.
- The GIB is a flagship species of the grassland; it determines the health of the grasslands, on which many other species of birds and animals, and even the dairy industry is dependent on.
Article link: Click here
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
Bringing in behavioral change for success of healthcare policies
The World Health Day, which is celebrated every year on on April 7, happens to be the day (in 1948) when the constitution of World Health Organization (WHO) came into force under the flag of the United Nations.
This year’s World Health Day happens to be the 70th anniversary of WHO, which is being celebrated with the theme “Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere”.
Healthcare challenges in India:
One can talk at length about the healthcare challenges India faces.
- The country’s diversity in terms of geography, culture, and demography
- Political system
- Unsafe boundaries
- Huge population burden
- Poor investment in health
Changing the behaviour pattern of the Indian masses, including the patient population, is something which has been focused upon much yet.
How behavioural patterns, old traditions, beliefs, and habits affect the success of healthcare efforts?
A case study:
Gramin Health Care clinics were set up at IFFCO bazaars. The clinics were strategically located at IFFCO bazaars to ensure easy accessibility for a cluster of nearby villages.
People were expected to begin accessing a modern healthcare clinic, which was operational throughout the year. However, the turnout was very low.
A new approach was adopted- holding camps and reaching out to the villages and people started responding. The experience of interacting with the villagers exposed the strong hold that conventional beliefs and habits had on people.
The lack of trust on existing healthcare models was evident given over the years, thousands of villages in India were left untouched by primary healthcare.
Busting various myths, sharing continued education and awareness, and rendering door-to-door services especially for women and child care — triggered a change in the behavioural patterns of the villagers who began trusting a scientifically sound model, and moved away from long entrenched practices of going to quacks and unqualified doctors.
In a short span, daily footfall at the clinics increased.
A public policy promoting health awareness and healthcare delivery is unlikely to succeed if no efforts are made to modify individual behaviour.
The focus needs to be towards the following:
- Effective people participation and engagement in healthier practices is essential.
The more interactive health policies are, the higher will be chances of developing public understanding.
- New care delivery models should have behaviour change as a core component.
- Convincing the influencers first is vital.
From the head of the village panchayat to celebrities, there needs to be a strategic approach in taking their help in bringing about behavioural change.
- Using modern technology to bridge the gap is key.
Social media, digitisation, tele-assisted medicine, video and audio campaigns can play a significant role in reaching to the remotest of regions.
- The role of incentives and penalties cannot be overstated in bringing about beahvioural change.
- Including more accountable stakeholders is also important.
Approaching healthcare policies from the behavioural angle can ensure better systemic efficiency and large-scale transformation.
Connecting the dots:
- Ensuring behavioral change for the success of any policy is crucial, same is the case when it comes to health policy. Discuss. Also suggest measures to bring the behavioral change for the success of healthcare efforts.
TOPIC:General Studies 2:
- India and its neighbourhood- relations.
- 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
Normalising India-Nepal relations
The current state of India’s relations with Nepal is unhealthy.
Standing up against India has unfortunately become an important part of Nepal’s definition of sovereignty. Delhi must try and understand the sources of this negative tradition and address the problem purposefully.
Delhi inherited from the Raj, the sense of paramountcy over the Subcontinent. And Delhi has refused to adapt to the new circumstances. If the Raj’s hegemony was based on a partnership with friendly feudals, Delhi was torn between aligning with the monarchies and responding to the democratic aspirations of the people in the peripheral states.
One way or another, India was inevitably sucked into the internal affairs of its neighborus, including Nepal. The most recent case was India’s involvement in Nepal’s constitution-making.
Nepal PM Oli’s visit this week provides a major opportunity for Delhi to put the relationship with Nepal back on a new set of rails.
As in India-US ties, the initiative to reduce suspicion and generate political comfort must come from the larger nation, which is India in case of India-Nepal.
Three broad imperatives stand out for Delhi.
- India should acknowledge Nepal’s sovereignty and promise to conduct relations on that basis. Delhi needs to shift from underlining “the special relationship” with Nepal to one based on “sovereign equality”.
This would mean that India should stop meddling in Nepal’s internal affairs and focus more on the state-to-state relationship.
Also, it is in India’s interest to have a strong and sovereign Nepal on its northern frontiers.
- Instead of demanding an “India first policy” from Oli, Prime Minister the government must affirm that India’s strong support for a “Nepal first” policy.
Situated between the world’s two fastest growing economies, Nepal has every reason to benefit from its location.
- While the Indian security establishment has long claimed a special political relationship, Delhi’s economic policies have prevented the full development of the natural economic complementarity between the two countries.
The rotting trade infrastructure on the long and open border, Delhi’s cumbersome procedures for administering economic assistance and the inability to implement infrastructure projects in reasonable time, have all added to India’s woes in Nepal.
The two sides must focus on the already committed projects and the ones that promise early returns to the people on both sides of the border. An emphasis on projects relating to cross-border trade, transport and tourism could be the beginning of a solid economic foundation for a sustainable political partnership with sovereign Nepal.
Connecting the dots:
- The current state of India’s relations with Nepal is unhealthy. The initiative to reduce suspicion and generate political comfort must come from the larger nation, which is India in this case. Discuss.
Forging a culture of innovation
Healthy India, happy India
Ends and means