IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 4th July 2019
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Soon, read Supreme Court judgments in your language
Part of: Prelims and Mains GS II – Judiciary
- In a novel measure, the Supreme Court will translate its judgments into all vernacular languages for the benefit of the public and litigants across the length and breadth of the country.
- The app, similar to Google’s text translation, is likely to be launched in a single phase and cover all vernacular languages.
- The project included not only translating the apex court judgments into Hindi and other vernacular languages but also to provide summaries of the apex court’s verdicts.
- This will also benefit litigants, who after fighting their cases for years, were left unable to read the judgments in their own cases for the sole reason that they did not know English.
Improper planning, lack of monitoring defeating aim of green power, says CAG
Part of: Prelims and Mains GS III – Infrastructure: Renewable energy
- An audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on setting up small hydro projects on public-private partnership (PPP) basis said due to improper planning and inadequate monitoring, the objective of harnessing the green power with the help of private sector was largely defeated.
- According to report against the estimated installed capacity of 417.85 MW, only 36.85 MW installed capacity was achieved.
- There was time overrun ranging from 39 to 53 months in respect of two ongoing projects
The CAG’s recommendations
- The feasibility study in respect of listed projects be completed in a time-bound manner.
- The government may address the issue of less release of water so as to have fair terms for PPP projects.
- There is a need to focus on the issues at hand and work out a solution to take the project forward or short-close the same if a feasible solution is possible.
NASA tests launch-abort system for its moon mission
Part of: Prelims and Mains GS III – Science and Technology; Space
- NASA carried out a successful test of a launch-abort system for the Orion capsule designed to take U.S. astronauts to the Moon.
- The three-minute exercise at Cape Canaveral in Florida aimed to test in almost real-life conditions the evacuation of astronauts from the capsule in the event of an explosion or rocket booster failure.
- In real-life conditions, parachutes would open to ease the manned capsule’s fall toward the Atlantic Ocean.
27% of children with disabilities have never been to school: UNESCO
Part of: Prelims and Mains GS II – Services related to Health and Education
According to a report by UNESCO and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, more than one in four children with disabilities between ages 5 and 19 in India have never attended any educational institution, while three-fourths of five-year-olds with disabilities are not in school.
Findings of the report
- There are more than 78 lakh children with disabilities in the country between 5-19 years.
- Only 61% of them were attending an educational institution. About 12% had dropped out, while 27% had never been to school at all.
- The number of children [with disabilities] enrolled in school drops significantly with each successive level of schooling. There are fewer girls with disabilities in school than boys.
- Differences remain among various types of disabilities. Only 20% of children with visual and hearing impairments had never been in school. However, among children with multiple disabilities or mental illness, that figure rose to more than 50%.
Lacunae in policy
- The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan teacher is supposed to visit and check students seeking home based education, but they rarely visit.
- The Right to Education Act mandates enrolment, but not the provision of resources needed for the actual education of a child with disabilities.
- The government data on enrolment includes home-based education, which often exists only on paper for children with disabilities.
- Amendments to the RTE Act, 2009 to make it align with the Right of Persons With Disabilities Act, 2016 are among the major recommendations of the report.
- Report recommends structural, funding and attitudinal changes to ensure that no child is left out of the right to education.
TOPIC:General studies 3
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development
Not by wishful thinking: On $5 Trillion Economy Target
- PM in a recent NITI ayog meeting has set an economic target of $5 trillion by 2024 for Indian Economy.
- It means ₹350,00,000 crore of gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices, at ₹70 to a U.S. dollar exchange rate.
- The target implies an output expansion by 84% in five years, or at 13% compound annual growth rate.
- The required growth rate in real, or inflation-adjusted, terms should be 9% per year. In last five years India officially grew at 7.1% only. Thus the target is an ambitious one.
What efforts are required?
- China in its best five years, during 2003-07, grew at 11.7%; South Korea, between 1983 and 1987, grew at 11%. In the same way India needs to grow with double digit growth rate.
- In the last five years, on average, the domestic saving rate was 30.8% of gross national domestic income (GNDI), and the investment rate (gross capital formation to GDP ratio) was 32.5%.
- India will have to turn into an investment-led economy as it happened during the boom last decade (2003-08) before the financial crisis, or like China since the 1980s.
- India has low domestic savings rate. India requires nearly 8-9 percentage point boost to saving and investment rates.
- In order to accelerate its growth rate, India would require an increase in the domestic saving rate to close to 40% of GDP. Which means investment in the economy should be based on domestic resources.
- Although FDI can fulfil important gaps in investment. However it cannot be a substitute for domestic resources as has been witnessed in the Chinese growth story.
- The domestic saving rate has declined from 31.4% in 2013-14 to 29.6% in 2016-17; and gross capital formation rate from 33.8% to 30.6% during the same period.
- The banking sector’s ability to boost credit growth is limited by non-performing assets (NPAs) and the governance crisis in the financial sector.
- Export to GDP ratio has declined rapidly, with a looming global trade war on the horizon.
The $5 trillion target appears challenging . To achieve such a target policymakers should focus on stepping up domestic saving and investment, and not just relying on FDI-led growth accelerations in uncertain economic times.
Connecting the dots:
- Suggest a roadmap for India to achieve $5 Trillion Economy Target.
General studies 2
- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes
General studies 3
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
Healthcare’s primary problem
The deaths of 154 children in Bihar due to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) has been linked to two factors:
- Litchi consumption by starving children and
- a long ongoing heat wave
Prevention of AES
AES is largely preventable both before and just after the onset of the disease and treatable with high chances of success on availability of medical intervention within 2-4 hours of symptoms.
Therefore, the first signs of an outbreak must prompt strong prevention measures.
- A robust health education drive
- Replenishing primary health centres (PHCs) with essential supplies,
- Extensive deployment of peripheral health workers (ASHA workers)
- Ambulance services to facilitate rapid identification
- Management of suspected cases.
- Vacant doctor positions in PHCs must be urgently filled through deputation.
- Short-term scaling-up of the Poshan Abhiyaan
- The supplementary nutrition programme which makes available hot, cooked meals for pre-school children at Anganwadis along with take home ration for mothers and distribution of glucose/ORS packets in risk households.
Nearly every one of these elements lies undermined in Bihar.
Crumbling healthcare in Bihar
- In Bihar, one PHC caters to about 1 lakh people rather than the norm of 1 PHC per 30,000 people. Furthermore, it is critical for such a PHC, catering to more than three times the standard population size, to have at least two doctors.
- Three-fourths of the nearly 1,900 PHCs in Bihar have just one doctor each.
- Muzaffarpur has 103 PHCs (about 70 short of the ideal number) with 98 of them falling short of basic requirements outlined by the Health Management Information System.
- Bihar, one of the most populous States, had a doctor-population ratio of 1:17,685 in 2018, 60% higher than the national average, and with only 2% of the total MBBS seats in the country.
- There is also a one-fifth shortage of ASHA personnel, and nearly one-third of the sub-health centres have no health workers at all.
- While the State reels under the highest load of malnutrition in India, a study found that around 71% and 38% of funds meant for hot, cooked meals and take home ration, respectively, under the supplementary nutrition programme, were pilfered.
- Meals were served for just more than half the number of prescribed days, and only about half the number of beneficiaries on average actually got them.
- Even those PHCs with adequate supplies remain underutilized. Perennial subscription to selective healthcare services by PHCs, like family planning and immunization, have cultivated the perception that PHCs are inept as centres of general healthcare.
- This leads patients either directly to apex government hospitals situated far away or to unqualified private providers. This results in a patient losing precious time in transit and landing up in a hospital in a critical and often irreversible stage of illness.
- Revamp primary health infrastructure
- The solution lies in building more functional PHCs and sub-health centers;
- Scaling-up the cadres of ASHA workers;
- Strict monitoring of nutrition programmes;
- Addressing the maldistribution of doctors, medical colleges and vacancies.
- The resultant robust primary care system can then be geared towards being more responsive to future outbreaks.
- We should also bolster our technical capacity to better investigate the causes of such outbreaks and operationalise a concrete long-term strategy.
- Decades of hospital-centric growth of health services have eroded faith in community-based healthcare. In these circumstances, even easily manageable illnesses increase demand for hospital services rather than PHCs.
- Merely strengthening the tertiary care sector will be inefficient and ineffective.
- Primary healthcare should be the strong foundation of health development narrative.
- There is need to work on inculcating confidence in community-based care.
Connecting the dots:
- In the context of the breakout of the acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in Bihar, analyse the shortcomings of healthcare sector.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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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
Government needs to assist the telecom sector to facilitate a smooth transition to 5G
Towards a more equitable and inclusive education system
The poor must be included as change agents in the roadmap for clean energy