A. GS 1 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
B. GS 2 Related
Syllabus: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
Mains: The risks associated with aesthetic surgeries and the need for regulation of the industry
The recent death of an actor while undergoing fat reduction surgery has brought the debate on the safety of aesthetic surgical interventions into the limelight.
- Reports from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery suggest that 5,24,064 aesthetic procedures (surgical and non-surgical) took place in India in 2020.
- The industry is experiencing high demand in recent years due to increased advertisements that are attracting a lot of patients through promises of instant results and other benefits.
Risks involved with aesthetic or cosmetic surgeries
- The major complication experienced with cosmetic fat removal surgeries is that of an embolism which leads to the formation of blood clots, which can turn fatal.
- Staple-line leak or bleeding can also be life-threatening if bleeding is excessive and not monitored.
- The stress of surgery or infections
- Lack of sleep and recuperation that leads to pain and fatigue
- Hematoma and damage to nerves causing sensory or motor loss
- Complications of anaesthesia
- Experience of depression
Need to regulate the industry
- The industry is thriving and the reports of unfortunate incidents are on the rise due to inadequate legislation, regulations and implementations.
- Fake and incorrect advertisements, institutions with no hospital backup, inadequate safety standards and sub-standard staff are thriving in the market and there is a need for urgent interventions
- There is a need to spread awareness in public to help them make informed choices that will result in standardised treatment options.
As cosmetic surgeries have severe mental and economical consequences along with physical pain, there is a need for the government to work with experts and formulate guidelines that help regulate the industry which is experiencing high demand.
Syllabus: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
Prelims: About India Hypertension Control Initiative
Mains: the significance of India Hypertension Control Initiative and its achievements.
This article discusses the India Hypertension Control Initiative and its successful implementation.
- Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are a major cause of death among adults in India.
- Also, the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes is the negligence of high blood pressure or hypertension. Hypertension is a silent killer i.e. most of the time patients do not experience any symptoms.
- India has reported over 20 crore people with hypertension, out of which only 14.5% of the patients are being treated. Hypertension is easy to diagnose and can be treated with low-cost generic drugs.
India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI)
- India Hypertension Control Initiative was started in 2018.
- It is a multi-partner initiative involving the Indian Council of Medical Research, WHO-India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and State governments
- The main aim of the initiative is to improve blood pressure control for people with hypertension.
- It also aims to reduce disability and death related to cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Five scalable strategies of the Initiative
- It has a simple treatment protocol with three drugs that were selected in consultation with the experts
- Strengthening of the supply chain to ensure the availability of adequate antihypertensive drugs.
- Patient-centric approaches were followed which include refills for a minimum of 30 days and assigning the patients to the closest primary health centres to make follow-up easier.
- Capacity building approach was followed with the health staff and all the tasks such as BP measurement, documentation, and follow-up were shared among them.
- Minimal documentation methods were adopted using either paper-based or digital tools to monitor follow-ups and BP control.
Read more about India Hypertension Control Initiative
Achievements and success of the Initiative
- The project was started in 26 districts in 2018 and has now (2022) been expanded to over 100 districts.
- Over 20 lakh individuals were started with the treatment and are monitored regularly.
- The initiative has shown that hypertension can be treated and controlled with basic health care facilities in various health systems across India.
- Before IHCI, many patients had to visit higher-level facilities like community district hospitals in the public sector for the treatment of blood pressure.
- The BP control among patients treated was 48% at primary health centres and 55% at the health wellness centres.
- The fact that BP control in the primary care facilities was better than compared to hospitals is an encouraging sign.
- In three years all the strata of health staff at the primary health centres and health wellness centres are trained to provide treatment and follow-up services for hypertension.
- About 47% of the patients achieved blood pressure control.
- The availability of medications in the nearby facilities has facilitated the BP control treatment for the patient.
- The data-driven approach is a major contribution to the project.
- The approach involves the preparation of a list of patients who have not returned for treatment and these individuals were constantly reminded over the phone or through home visits. Also, the programme managers reviewed the data at the district and State levels and assessed the performance of facilities.
- This approach encouraged a large number of individuals to continue treatment.
- Considering India’s healthcare system, scaling hypertension treatment is very much feasible also the generic antihypertensive drugs cost only ₹200 per patient per year when scaled.
- The initiative has utilised India’s network of primary health centres, doctors and staff very efficiently
- Health and wellness centres set up under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana have been used to train healthcare staff about measuring blood pressure and providing refills for patients.
- E-Sanjeevani which is a telemedicine platform was also used to provide teleconsultations.
- As the success of the initiative has encouraged many States to implement the strategies of the initiative beyond project districts, there is a need to address a few new challenges that have arisen such as reducing the treatment gaps in many states.
- Also since a large number of patients with hypertension are not aware of their high BP, all the healthcare institutions could be mandated to measure BP at the entry point of these centres for people who visit the doctor for any health problem.
- This strategy is called opportunistic screening and does not require additional resources.
- The use of good quality blood pressure monitors is important for accurate BP measurement and these have to be procured and distributed to health facilities.
- Extending the number of refills provided to 60 days from currently practised 30-day refills can help reduce visits to healthcare centres.
- The lack of involvement of the private sector has been a cause of concern when such a large number of people are seeking treatment, hence there is a need to extend the facilities and make sure that early detection and treatment of hypertension reduces deaths and disability due to heart attack, stroke, and chronic kidney disease.
With the increasing number of deaths and disabilities caused due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in India, the success of the India Hypertension Control Initiative has gained significance and it stands as a remarkable example of how effective implementation brings about positive outcomes.
C. GS 3 Related
Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth and development.
Mains: Impact of the reduction in excise duties on petroleum products and various government measures to check the rising inflation.
The Union government announced a reduction in its excise duty on petrol and diesel.
- The Finance Minister announced a number of measures to counter the increase in inflation which includes duty cuts on petroleum products, a ₹200 subsidy on LPG cylinders for the poor and a reform of import duties on plastic and steel products.
- A reduction of ₹8 on petrol and ₹6 on diesel (per litre) in central excise duty, will result in the reduction of retail prices by ₹9.5 and ₹7 per litre respectively.
- Previously tax cuts of ₹5 and ₹10 per litre for petrol and diesel, respectively were announced in November 2021 which is expected to cost the government about ₹1 lakh crore a year as foregone revenue.
Read more about – Impact of reduction in fuel taxes – AIR spotlight
Other Government initiatives to counter rising inflation
- Subsidy of ₹200 per gas cylinder for up to 12 cylinders per year is announced which will benefit about nine crore beneficiaries of the PM Ujwala Yojana.
- This is expected to have a revenue implication of about ₹6,100 crores per year.
- The government also announced the reduction in customs duties on raw materials and intermediaries for plastic products where import dependence is high which would result in the reduction of final product prices that significantly helps the MSMEs.
- The government cut the import duty on raw materials and also levied an export duty on a few steel goods which help address the rising steel prices.
- Measures were also announced to improve cement supplies and boost the logistic facilities that help restrict the increasing cement prices.
The Government’s stand on rising inflation
- The Finance Minister said that the world is facing a tricky situation, as the war in Ukraine has caused supply chain disruptions and acute shortages of various goods.
- The government believes that the war is the cause of rising inflation & economic distress and even a few developed economies are facing troubles due to shortages and disruptions
- Despite the current challenges, the government has ensured that there are adequate stocks of essential goods and is looking for ways to ensure that prices are kept under control.
- The Finance Minister believes that the fiscal cost incurred due to various tax cuts announced can be compensated by higher than budgeted revenues collected through other taxes.
- She further said that the tax revenues of the central government are expected to cross the budget estimates by a minimum of ₹1.3 lakh crores despite the tax cuts.
The announcement of a reduction in excise duty and other measures are a welcome sign and are expected to flatten the inflation trajectory, the States must also join the Centre in this fight against rising inflation and extend safety nets to middle- and lower-income groups.
D. GS 4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
Syllabus: GS III, Environment and ecology, Conservation
Prelims: Biological Diversity Act, 2022, UNCBD
Mains: Necessary reforms for the effective conservation and protection of biodiversity
Context: The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill has been under criticism that determines the loopholes in the proposed amendments.
A Brief Background:
- To give effect to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Biological Diversity Act was enacted.
- The CBD envisaged a sustainable, fair, and equitable usage of biological resources along with the proper application of traditional knowledge.
- Under the Convention, Biological Diversity Act formulated a three-tier structure that includes:
- National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) – at the national level
- State Biodiversity Boards – at the state level
- Biodiversity Management Committees – at the local body levels and are entrusted with documenting the local biodiversity and associated knowledge in the form of a People’s Biodiversity Register.
- These authorities have the jurisdiction to regulate biodiversity conservation, maintain information regarding biodiversity and its changing scenario, and regulate the management of biological resources.
To read more about the Biological Diversity Act, follow the link.
Present Status of the bill:
- The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill is under the review of the Joint Parliamentary Committee.
The need for Amendments to the Biological Diversity Act
- The amendment bill on biological diversity was drafted as a response to the complaints by the traditional Indian medicine practitioners, the seed sector, industries, and researchers.
- The act was alleged to impose a heavy compliance burden on the usage and benefit-sharing of the biological resources.
- This added to the difficulty in conducting collaborative research and investments and complicated the patent application processes.
- The introduction of the amendment bill was an attempt to address the concerns of the stakeholders.
- The amendment bill includes a text that encourages widening the scope of levying access and benefit-sharing with local communities and for further conservation of biological resources.
- The Amendment bill exempted the registered AYUSH medical practitioners from providing prior information to the State Biodiversity Board for accessing the biological resources to carry out certain studies.
- Organisations that work towards environmental causes have criticised the proposed amendment asserting that they tend to benefit the AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy) practitioners and researchers.
- It is put forth that these set of amendments pave the way for bio-piracy that involves the exploitation of naturally occurring biochemicals and genetic materials.
- It will be a subject of concern if the AYUSH manufacturing companies are provided with regulatory exemptions that free them from getting approvals from authorities, through the amendments.
- Objections emphasised that the Environment Ministry has demarcated the difference between a registered AYUSH practitioner and a company. This failed to prevent a registered practitioner of AYUSH from developing informal links with a company structure, resulting in rigorous abuse of the law.
- As a result, the quality of AYUSH products will be brought under several questions and debates, thereby reducing the trust among consumers to use such products.
- The provision that mandated the requirement of approvals by the companies from the National Biodiversity Authority only at the time of commercialisation, and not during the application for a patent, was a major concern.
- Summing up the multiple arguments against the amendment bill, it was pointed out that the provisions of the bill intended to dilute the role of regulatory bodies like the NBA.
- Therefore, the entire cause of promoting AYUSH medicines globally, as the traditional legacy of India, will not bear enough fruit.
- Other major loopholes included the lack of clarity on the manner in which the Biological Diversity Act was practically implemented along with the absence of transparency in the financial transactions between companies and the traders for accessing the resources.
The Way Ahead:
- It suggested that the role of the regulatory bodies must be strengthened at all levels to ensure fair and just use of biological resources, and for the better conservation of biodiversity.
- The amendments to the Biological Diversity Act must put an effort to bring more transparency to the trade of biological and genetic resources.
- There must be regulatory norms, formulated to keep a check on unwarranted access to biological resources.
- The proposed amendments need to develop consensus with all the stakeholders for a precise understanding of the issue of biodiversity conservation and the upcoming challenges.
It is essential that the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill pays attention to the concerns of the stakeholders for the effective implementation of the Biological Diversity Act of 2002 with a limited scope of exploitation of the biological resources and checking their illegal trade.
Syllabus: GS II, Social Justice, Issues relating to education
Prelims: NEP 2020
Mains: Challenges and opportunities of the National Education Policy.
Context: The article discusses the changing views of the government of Kerala regarding the National Education Policy.
- The National Education Policy was introduced in 2020 and became the central theme of several debates.
- There were significant disagreements expressed by the government of Kerala regarding the policy.
- Gradually with the progress of time, a shift in the views of the government of Kerala has been observed. However, certain concerns remain.
- Despite the observed shift in the views regarding the implementation of the new policy on education, there are very less chances of a speedy roll-out due to various factors.
- The government of Kerala has hinted that the proposed reforms of the policy can be enforced during the 2023-24 academic year.
The Initial Apathy:
- To assess the impact of the NEP, the Kerala State Higher Education Council had constituted a committee that inferred that the policy is retrograde and exemplified an exclusionary vision of education as opposed to aspiring for inclusiveness in education.
- The policy has been alleged to accompany the challenges with respect to accessibility, equity, social justice, and the reservation system.
- The policy seemed to have ignored the democratic doctrines and the ethos of the federal system, thereby only promoting the need for private investments in education and techno-capitalism.
- The provisions of relaxing the entries at various levels of academic programmes have opened the avenues to legitimise dropouts which is already an existing challenge.
- Moreover, the state government opined that the NEP will destroy the democratic spirit and the autonomy of universities.
- There must be a thorough discussion involving the Centre, States, educational institutions, universities, educationists, investors, and all the essential stakeholders to introduce the roadmap for the implementation of the National Education Policy.
- The legitimate issues of the stakeholders must be considered for the effective enforcement of the policy.
- Many educationists advocated that the State would do well to be mindful in the implementation of the policy with a better understanding of the challenges that vary from one state to another.
- With the ever-changing socio-economic conditions, skill education needs to ramp up which will add to the overall growth of students, industries, and communities.
- Therefore, the lofty goals of skilling the youth and churning out the potential of the demographic dividend can only be possible by the active participation of all the stakeholders of the entire education system contributing to nation-building.
- The innovation in education has a far-reaching impact on human development for productivity, research, and improved value chain interaction across different spheres of the economy.
- Emerging disciplines must be inculcated in the educational institutions to make innovation a habit as education is not immune to the dynamic nature of the world with a faster pace of digital revolution. For instance, the academic curriculum of technical institutes must encourage an understanding of automation, machine intelligence, data analytics, and Artificial Intelligence. This would assist the area of manufacturing with skilled labour and gear up the country to head towards Industry 4.0.
Read more about National Education Policy in the link shared.
A collective effort by the Union Government, State governments, educational institutions, universities, and other stakeholders of education, is required for the speedy implementation of the National Education Policy reversing the prolonged resistance.
F. Prelims Facts
Syllabus: GS2, Health; Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
Prelims: About Monkeypox Virus
Researchers from the National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA), Lisbon, Portugal have shared the draft genome sequence of the monkeypox virus.
- Monkeypox virus is a double-stranded DNA zoonotic virus that causes monkeypox in humans and other animals.
- Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that is found mainly in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa.
- Research suggests that monkeypox resembles smallpox which was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980.
- Symptoms: fever, rashes and swollen lymph nodes and other medical complications.
- Monkeypox is generally a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks.
- Monkeypox virus can spread both from animal to human and from human to human.
- Monkeypox virus can be transmitted by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.
- According to WHO, many cases of monkeypox have been reported from at least 11 countries and there were about 80 confirmed cases, and 50 pending investigations in May 2022.
- India will see the deployment of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft which ensures urban air mobility in the future.
- Negotiations are underway with several eVTOL technology producers in the U.S. and Canada.
- Modern aviation technologies are being adopted by the Army and the Air Force and eVTOLs are looked at as one of the options for infrastructure by the year 2047.
- University of Cambridge researchers have found an unusual pocket of rock at the boundary layer with Earth’s core, about 3,000 km below the surface.
- The enigmatic area of rock is located directly beneath the Hawaiian Islands which is one of several ultra-low velocity zones, which are so-called because earthquake waves slow to a crawl as they pass through them.
- Earth’s interior is layered like an onion as an iron-nickel core forms the centre surrounded by a thick layer known as the mantle, and crust on top of the mantle.
- Although the mantle is solid rock, it is hot enough to flow extremely slowly.
- Scientists use seismic waves from earthquakes to map the interiors of the Earth’s surface.
- The researchers used numerical modelling methods to reveal structures at the core-mantle boundary.
- A new species of snake has been recorded in Meghalaya and Mizoram is named Trimeresurus mayaae.
- The snake has also been named Maya’s pit viper after the deceased mother of an Army officer.
- The study was published in the recent edition of PLOS One, a scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science.
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
1. Discuss the points of contention raised by experts on the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021. (10 Marks, 150 Words) (GS III – Biodiversity)
2. Discuss the medical and ethical issues involved in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery. (10 Marks, 150 Words) (GS II – Health)