08 th August, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘First Milk’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: As many as 6 out of 10 babies born in the country are not able to begin breastfeeding within one hour of birth despite an improvement in institutional deliveries due to a lack of supportive work environment, inadequate skills of health care providers as well as caesarean deliveries, according to a new report made public
Importance of First milk
- Mother’s breast milk within one hour of birth ensures that the infant receives the colostrum or first milk, which is rich in protective factors. The WHO and UNICEF also recommend exclusive breastfeeding for infants up to the age of six months and thereafter complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.
- Breastfeeding is the cornerstone for child survival: poor breastfeeding practices contribute to 20 per cent of neonatal deaths and nearly 13 per cent of deaths in children below five years.
- If all children receive the benefits of breastfeeding – globally, 8,23,000 child deaths can be averted every year.
- For India, breastfeeding can reduce 156,000 child deaths every year, reduce over 3.4 million episodes of respiratory infections and 3.9 million episodes of diarrhoea in young children.
- If mothers breastfeed for more than one year – globally, 20,000 mothers’ deaths due to breast cancer can be averted.
- A longer duration of breastfeeding is associated with a 3 point increase in IQ.
- Longer periods of breastfeeding are associated with a reduction in a child’s risk of being overweight or obese.
Current scenario in India
India has made some progress over the years and between National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-3 and NFHS-4, early initiation of breastfeeding has improved from 23.4% to 41.5% children breastfed within one hour of birth.
This hasn’t kept pace with the stark increase in institutional deliveries which more than doubled during the same period, from 38.7 % to 78.9%.
MAA – Mothers’ Absolute Affection
MAA is an intensified programme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, for creating an enabling environment to ensure that others, husbands and families receive adequate information and support for promotion of breastfeeding.
- The goal of the MAA Programme is to enhance optimal breastfeeding practices, which includes early initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and continued breastfeeding for at least two years, along with feeding of safe and appropriate nutritious food on completion of six months.
- The key components of the programme are:
- Communication for enhanced awareness and demand generation through mass media and mid media;
- Training and capacity enhancement of nurses at government institutions, and all ANMs and ASHAs. They will provide information and counseling support to mothers for breastfeeding;
- Community engagement by ASHAs for breastfeeding promotion, who will conduct mothers’ meetings. Breastfeeding mothers requiring more support will be referred to a health facility or the ANM sub-centre or the Village Health and Nutrition Day (VHND) organized every month at the village level;
- Monitoring and impact assessment is an integral part of MAA programme. Progress will be measured against key indicators, such as availability of skilled persons at delivery points for counseling, improvement in breastfeeding practices and number of accredited health facilities; and
- Recognition and team awards will be given to facilities showing good performance, based on evaluation against per pre-decided criteria.
The MAA programme will be monitored by UNICEF and Reproductive, Materanal, Newborn, Child Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) lead development partners
‘Scrub Typhus’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: Three years of data from Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College has confirmed that the majority of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) patients admitted to the hospital between August and October each year have scrub typhus
About Scrub Typhus
Scrub typhus is related to rickettsial diseases.
- tsutsugamushi is transmitted by trombiculid mite larvae (chiggers), which feed on forest and rural rodents, including rats, voles, and field mice. Human infection also follows a chigger bite. The mites are both the vector and the natural reservoir for O. tsutsugamushi.
Scrub typhus is endemic in an area of Asia-Pacific bounded by Japan, Korea, China, India, and northern Australia.
‘Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)’ (GS2: Constitutional Body)
Issue: The focus of Railways’ modernization plans for its stations is mainly on improving the façade and passenger facilities, rather that removing bottlenecks to ensure timely movement of trains. The latter should be one of the most important parameters to judge the quality of service being provided to the passengers, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has said in its report tabled in Parliament
What the report says?
- Important activities such as providing platforms with adequate length for easy boarding of long trains, providing adequate facilities for stabling trains and for their maintenance in stations, and adequate yard capacity significantly contribute to timely arrival and departure of trains, the CAG pointed out.
- During a review of the existing infrastructure at 15 selected stations, the audit noticed that infrastructure such as platforms, washing pit lines and stabling lines at the stations were not augmented to match the increase in number of trains handled in all these stations.
- Of the 2,436 trains handled by the 15 stations as of March last year, 638 are being run with 24 or more coaches every day. To accommodate these longer train rakes, there should be platform of adequate length and adequate facilities of stabling and washing pit lines
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is an authority, established by Article 148 of the Constitution of India, which audits all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the state governments, including those of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the government. The CAG is also the external auditor of Government-owned corporations and conducts supplementary audit of government companies, i.e., any non-banking/ non-insurance company in which Union Government has an equity share of at least 51 per cent or subsidiary companies of existing government companies. The reports of the CAG are taken into consideration by the Public Accounts Committees (PACs) and Committees on Public Undertakings (COPUs), which are special committees in the Parliament of India and the state legislatures. The CAG is also the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department, the affairs of which are managed by officers of Indian Audit and Accounts Service, and has over 58,000 employees across the country.
The CAG is mentioned in the Constitution of India under Article 148 – 151.
The CAG is ranked 9th and enjoys the same status as a judge of Supreme Court of India in Indian order of precedence. The current CAG of India is Rajiv Mehrishi
‘Bank Fraud’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: Indian banks reported a total loss of about ₹70,000 crore due to frauds during the last three fiscals up to March 2018, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday.
The extent of loss in fraud cases reported by scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) for 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 was ₹16,409 crore, ₹16,652 crore and ₹36,694 crore, respectively
The RBI had issued directions to banks in June 2017, instructing them to file applications for initiation of corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) in respect of 12 borrowers. These borrowers had cumulative fund-based and non-fund based outstanding amount of ₹1,97,769 crore as on March 31, 2017.
‘Hothouse Earth’ (GS3: Environmental Pollution)
Issue: Even if humanity slashes greenhouse gas emissions in line with Paris climate treaty goals, the planet could overwhelm such efforts and irretrievably tip into a hellish ‘hothouse’ state
Under such a scenario, the earth’s average temperature would stabilize 4 or 5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, rather than the 1.5 ° C to 2 ° C cap called for in the 196-nation pact.
But that challenge will become exponentially more difficult if the earth itself gets into the act. No less than ten distinct facets of what scientists call the ‘earth system’ could switch from neutral or helpful to harmful, eventually dumping more CO2 and methane into the atmosphere than all human activity combined.
Some tipping points mentioned by the scientists which could release more CO2 by the nature include:
- Forests and oceans have together absorbed more than half of carbon pollution over the last several decades, even as emissions grew. But forests are shrinking, and oceans are showing signs of CO2 saturation, according to recent studies. These carbon sponges or ‘sinks’, in other words, may be weakening.
- Methane and CO2 trapped in the permafrost of Russia, Canada and northern Europe is roughly equivalent to 15 years of emissions at today’s levels. The release of these gases — negligible so far — would speed global warming and, in effect, hasten their own escape, what scientists call positive feedback.
- Similarly, rock-like formations in shallow ocean waters called methane hydrates — prime suspects for episodes of rapid global warming millions of years ago — are also vulnerable to global warming, but at what threshold remains unknown.
‘Elephant starting to run’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: India is on track to hold its position as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies as reforms start to pay off, according to the International Monetary Fund.
What the IMF says about Indian Economy?
- The $2.6 trillion economy was described by Ranil Salgado, the IMF’s mission chief for India, as an elephant starting to run, with growth forecast at 7.3 percent in the fiscal year through March 2019 and 7.5 percent in the year after that. The nation accounts for about 15 percent of global growth
- Key risks flagged by the IMF in its annual Article IV assessment of the economy include higher oil prices, tightening global financial conditions and tax revenue shortfalls. Authorities should take advantage of stronger growth to bring down debt levels, simplify the consumption tax system and continue to gradually tighten monetary policy
- Other key points from the report:
- Recovery is underway led by an investment pickup
- External vulnerabilities remain contained, but have risen
- India’s export market share remains low; need to boost competitiveness
- There’s need for maintaining exchange rate flexibility
- FX intervention should be two-way and limited to disorderly market conditions
- Government debt and budget deficit key macroeconomic challenges
- Need labor, land and product market reforms for jobs growth
- More needs to be done to ensure health of state-run lenders
‘Climate Change Finance Unit’ (GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: The functions of Climate Change Finance Unit are to prepare chapter on Climate Change and Sustainable Development for the Economic Survey; to serve as the nodal point on all Climate Change Finance matters in the Ministry of Finance
About the this unit
The Climate Change Finance Unit does not implement programmes/schemes directly. However, as the nodal point for Climate Change Finance matters in the Ministry of Finance, Climate Change Finance Unit has been representing the Government of India in various international fora including negotiations at the Annual Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and G-20 forum. The Unit has also been providing analytical inputs on climate finance for National Climate Policy Framework.
‘YONO’ (GS3: Science and Technology)
Issue: State Bank of India (SBI) has set a target to increase the user base for its app YONO (You Only Need One) by 100 times to 250 million in two years
About the app
Under this, a customer will be able to make payments through cards, Bharat QR, UPI and SBI Buddy on a point of sale (PoS) terminal. The bank plans to roll out the integrated payments facility on all its devices in a phased manner.
‘Mobile wallet transactions’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The value of transactions made through mobile wallets touched a record ₹14,632 crore in June, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data released on Tuesday showed, rising 4.2% from ₹14,047 crore in May.
Significance of this data
The record transaction value shows wallet companies, which were struggling to set up compliance infrastructure and convince users to provide know-your-customer (KYC) documents, have survived the storm and signed up new customers.
What are Know-your-customer transactions?
It is the process of a business verifying the identity of its clients and assessing potential risks of illegal intentions for the business relationship. The term is also used to refer to the bank regulations and anti-money laundering regulations which govern these activities. Know your customer processes are also employed by companies of all sizes for the purpose of ensuring their proposed agents, consultants, or distributors are anti-bribery compliant. Banks, insurers and export creditors are increasingly demanding that customers provide detailed anti-corruption due diligence information.
They usually frame their KYC policies incorporating the following four key elements:
- Customer Acceptance Policy;
- Customer Identification Procedures;
- Monitoring of Transactions; and
- Risk management.
KYC norms were introduced by Reserve Bank of India in the year 2002
Further actions taken to increase mobile wallet transactions in India
Guidelines on interoperability, awaited for several months, are expected to be issued soon by RBI. It is likely to increase the use cases for mobile wallet customers and bring it on par with banks.
‘Hookahs’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: Hookahs are generally considered—at least by the aficionados and marketers—to be safer than cigarettes, but a new study by the University of California, Los Angeles published in the American Journal of Cardiology has revealed that even 30 minutes of hookah smoking resulted in the development cardiovascular risk factors comparable to that of cigarette smoking.
What the report says?
A single session of hookah smoking elevated blood pressure and increased heart rate by 16 beats per minute. It also increased measures of arterial stiffness, a key risk factor associated with the development of cardiovascular conditions like heart attack and stroke.
Stiffening of arteries and the aorta are important signs of progression of hypertension, which raises the risk of heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular disorders.