IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 3rd July 2019
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
U.P. move to shift 17 OBCs to SC list ‘unconstitutional’
Part of Prelims and mains GS II constitution and governance
- The Uttar Pradesh government decided to relist 17 OBCs (Other Backward Classes)in the Schedule Caste list.
- Union Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment opposed the move of UP government stating it as unconstitutional.
- Under Article 341 sub clause (2) of the Constitution, the power to make changes in the SC list lay only with Parliament.
- Even the President of India does not have the power to tinker, alter or make changes in the list.
Hong Kong protests undermine rule of law, social order: China
Part of Prelims and mains GS II International events
- People in Hong Kong are protesting over controversial Extradiation Bill.
- Beijing denies interfering, but for many Hong Kong residents, the extradition Bill is the latest step in a relentless march towards mainland control.
- China condemned violent protests in Hong Kong as an “undisguised challenge” to the formula under which the city is ruled.
“One country two system” formula
- The former British colony of Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula that allows freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, including freedom to protest and an independent judiciary.
- 1 July 2019 was the 22nd anniversary of the handover.
About protest in Hong Kong
- Millions of people have taken to the streets in the past few weeks to protest against the now-suspended extradition Bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China to face trial in courts controlled by the Communist Party.
- Lawyers and rights groups say China’s justice system is marked by torture, forced confessions and arbitrary detention.
- The business, diplomatic and legal communities fear the corrosion of the legal autonomy of Hong Kong and the difficulty of guaranteeing a fair trial in China.
Lithium-ion giga units mooted
Part of Prelims and mains GS III Science and Tech, Industry
- To push the adoption of electric mobility in the country, government think-tank NITI Aayog has proposed the establishment of giga factories in India for the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries in the next couple of years.
- The recommendation is part of the Aayog’s much debated proposal that only electric (lithium-ion or other advanced battery chemistry only) three-wheelers would be sold in the country after March 31, 2023, and all new sales of two-wheelers below 150cc would be electric post March 31, 2025.
- It is a sunrise industry and India needed to start building capabilities to become a globally competitive player in this area.
TOPIC: General studies 2
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources.
Lessons from Bhutan
- Bhutan has recently announced a policy wherein Bhutan’s teachers, doctors and other medical staff will earn more than civil servants of corresponding grades.
- This is a novel move as no other country has accorded teachers and doctors such pride of place in its government service, both in terms of remuneration and symbolism.
About the policy
- The policy’s has been referred in Bhutan’s 12th Five Year Plan (2018-23), published by its Gross National Happiness Commission, the country’s highest policy-making body.
- The commission’s strategy is to achieve desired national outcomes through education. The strategy opens with the notation, “making teaching a profession of choice”. Therefore the proposal aims to achieve the country’s human developmental objectives.
- The decision also comes in the wake of high levels of teacher attrition. Clearly, the government has formulated the policy to put a stop to such fall in numbers of teachers.
- As per The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) there is distinct correlation between student outcomes in a country and the status that its teachers enjoy.
- Further already Bhutan spends about 7.5% of its GDP on education. The fiscal implications of the new salary structure are unclear now.
- OECD’s ‘Education at a Glance 2018’ report says that, “The quality of education can be a strong predictor of a country’s economic prosperity”.
Can India afford a similar policy?
- India currently spends about 3% of its GDP on education, accounting for about 10% of the Centre’s and States’ budgetary expenses and salaries of teachers and other staff constitute a large portion of this expenditure.
- The NITI Aayog in its report last year recommended that India raise this to 6% of GDP by 2022.
- Paying teachers significantly higher salaries may seem like a difficult task, but the Central and State governments could consider rationalising both teacher recruitment and allocation of funds to existing programmes.
- Some programmes may have outlived their purpose, while others could be better directed. In fact, improving accountability in the system could lead to reduction in cost.
- A World Bank study found that teacher absenteeism in India was nearly 24%, which costs the country about $1.5 billion annually.
- Absenteeism could be the result of many factors, including teachers taking up a second job or farming to boost incomes, providing parental or nursing care in the absence of support systems, or lacking motivation.
- Hence, the incentive of a desirable income with strong accountability, can help mitigate many ills that plague the system, free fiscal space and help meet important national developmental objectives.
- Further, implementing a policy may be easier in a smaller State such as Delhi.
- Education is a key focus area for the Delhi government; the State invests 26% of its annual budget in the sector (much more than the national average).
- The administration has also worked on improving teacher motivation as a strategy for better educational outcomes. The base has been set.
- Moreover, since the State is highly urban and well-connected, it would be easier to enforce accountability measures.
- No investment that enables an educated, healthy, responsible and happy community can be deemed too high by any society.
- Improving teacher status by offering top notch salaries to attract the best to the profession could be that revolutionary policy-step forward, which Bhutan has shown a willingness to take.
Connecting the dots:
The quality of education can be a strong predictor of a country’s economic prosperity. Substantiate.
TOPIC: General studies 2
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to health, etc.
Don’t blame the litchi: On deaths in Bihar
Muzaffarpur in Bihar is famous for litchis and infamous for children dying due to annual seasonal brain disease outbreaks.
- The common brain diseases in children with high mortality are meningitis, encephalitis and encephalopathy.
- These three have clear-cut differences and very different treatments. Trained paediatricians know how to distinguish the three.
- If diagnostic criteria are not applied for various reasons, then the three are not distinguished by doctors.
- That is when an easy diagnostic term covering all three — “acute encephalitis syndrome” (AES) is used.
Viral attack or Encephalopathy
The disease description;
- Only under-nourished children are affected;
- Only children between two and 10 years are affected
- The onset of convulsions and unconsciousness is always between 4 am and 7 am
These are clear pointers against any virus infection causing the disease. Viruses, including JE, do not respect nutritional status, age and diurnal rhythm.
Encephalopathy (Brain disease)
- The early morning onset and frequent finding of low blood glucose level (hypoglycaemia) point to a biochemical disease related to glucose metabolism.
- Several hours after food intake (early morning) is when the body tends to develop hypoglycaemia.
- In addition, there is brain swelling caused by toxic damage to brain cells — encephalopathy, specifically, “hypoglycaemic encephalopathy”.
- If the fasting interval is longer than 6-7 hours, because some children were not given a night meal, the situation becomes more severe.
- Malnourished children do not have glucose reserves in the liver, which makes matters worse.
- Moreover, many children were referred to Muzaffarpur medical college, and the long delay in reaching there resulted in many deaths. Prevention is simple, as is treatment.
Prevention is possible
- In 2016 and 2017, a simple intervention — all grass root health workers consistently teaching rural families not to allow children sleep without a cooked meal — had brought down the case numbers drastically.
- If doctors had treated the sick and unconscious children with a 10 per cent glucose infusion within four hours of onset, all the children would have recovered.
- The high blood glucose level created with 10 per cent glucose actually turns off the fatty acid oxidation cycle immediately, so no more amino acids accumulate to further damage brain cells.
Malnutrition and Litchies
- The external stimulus that blocks the fatty acid oxidation cycle for glucose synthesis is methylene cyclo-propyl glycine, present in the edible pulp of litchies.
- Normally-nourished children or adults suffer no adverse effects from litchis. Only when malnutrition and skipping the night meal come together does the litchi eaten the previous day become the last straw.
- The socio-behavioural risk factors are the real cause of the outbreak.
- Where litchi orchards and gross malnutrition are not superimposed, like in Punjab and Haryana, hypoglycemic encephalopathy is not a problem.
Following interventions can reduce the impact of outbreak;
- Training of the doctors for immediate treatment
- Increase in availability of health care services within the reach of patients
- Curbing malnutrition
- Addressing the socio-behavioral risk factors
Connecting the dots:
The outbreak of “acute encephalitis syndrome” in Bihar is preventable healthcare disaster. comment.
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Q.1) “one country, two systems” formula recently seen in news is related to,
- North Korea and South Korea
- China and Tiwan
- China and Hong Kong
- None of the above
Q.2) Consider the following statements
- Under Article 341 sub clause (2) of the Constitution, the power to make changes in the Scheduled castes’ list lay only with Parliament.
- Any such changes require prior recommendations of state government
Select the incorrect statements
- Only 1
- Only 2
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Reclaiming the space of non-violence
Not by wishful thinking